The similarity of the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has sparked speculation that the regional parties may come together to form a united front. And, NCP boss Sharad Pawar is being seen as prime mover in this regard.
For the past few days, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray have launched a tirade against Modi — the BJP’s only star campaigner in the Maharashtra assembly polls — accusing him of promoting Gujarat at the cost of other states and splitting Maharashtra as the BJP has promised statehood for Vidarbha region. Raj even called him “prime minister of Gujarat”. The NCP, too, has been attacking the prime minister on similar lines.
Both Uddhav and Raj have also questioned the need for national parties in Maharashtra, citing states like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where regional parties have been doing well.
“There is some talk of forming an axis of the three Maharashtra specific parties. A lot depends on the outcome of the elections,” said a key NCP leader, who did not want to be named. “If the three parties together get 125-plus seats, there is scope for an alliance. Pawarsaheb is the only person who can bring two Thackeray cousins together.”
Leaders from the Sena and the MNS, however, said it was too early to comment on such a possibility. “Right now, our aim is to win maximum seats. We have to target the Congress-NCP, who were in power for 15 years and people are not happy with them. The results will decide whether any new equation is possible in the state,” said a top Sena leader.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday questioned the motives of the Sena and the MNS. “Why are the Sena and the MNS speaking the same language as Sharad Pawar,” asked Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar, adding that they should be targeting the Congress-NCP rule.