Uddhav Thackeray’s aggressive stance on Sunday may have come as surprise to its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but Sena leaders claim that the Sena chief, known for his mild demeanour, has been pushed into the corner one too many times in the recent past.
On Sunday, Uddhav put his final offer of 119 seats to BJP and 18 to smaller allies, while keeping 151 seats for the Sena.
The recent face-off is not the first instance to have irked Uddhav. “The seat-sharing issue is just a trigger [for his outburst]. BJP leaders in the state were misleading us, they did not treat us as partners. When things went out of hand, Uddhavji snapped and has now shown them his difficult side,” a senior Sena leader said.
According to MP Sanjay Raut, the BJP crossed the line by ignoring its ally. “No one is angry, we all are friends. But they need to understand that we are equal partners. While they look after Delhi, we will look after Maharashtra. And Uddhavji will lead the state Mahayuti from the front,” he said.
Sena leaders claim that Uddhav felt betrayed during the Lok Sabha elections, when Narendra Modi went to BKC. “There was no mention of the Mahayuti. We were not even kept in the loop. This did not happen when Balasaheb was alive,” a leader said.
Then BJP leader Nitin Gadkari approached MNS chief Raj Thackeray, asking him to join the alliance.
According to the leader, the BJP kept Sena out of the loop even after the polls. “We were given an insignificant ministry. The PM came to Mumbai twice, but never met Uddhav,” he said.
The BJP’s demand that a formal invitation be sent to BJP chief Amit Shah to visit Matoshree further aggravated the matter. “Uddhav overlooked all this. But now it is the matter of our survival. The BJP shouldn’t forget our reach in the state,” the leader said.
Calling it an “ego clash”, political analyst Surendra Jondhale said the BJP was not giving Uddhav the same respect that gave to his father. “He wants senior leaders to understand his importance. Also, his political survival is at stake now,” Jondhale said.