A day after Sharad Pawar and Mulayam Singh Yadav met in Delhi as a part of pressure building exercise on their principal ally Congress, the Shiv Sena too has got into the act of pressurising its ally BJP by maintaining a soft approach on the NCP chief.
On Monday while addressing a mammoth rally in the Shirur (Lok Sabha) constituency, the Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray lashed out at the Congress but was mum on Pawar, who is also one of the likely candidates from this very constituency. Taking a dig at the Congress for its Muslim appeasement, Thackeray said his party's priority is to see "any non-congress government in future".
In a press conference on the sidelines of rally, Thackeray eluded questions on the Sena joining hands with NCP, saying, "Such talks are usual. Now, there is new talk going on but let me tell you elections are still away." However Thackeray surprised everyone while replying to the next question on extending support to Pawar for prime ministership, he said the Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has already cleared the stand on this issue. Thackeray senior in the recent past has showed his willingness to support Pawar, a marathi
, as prime ministerial candidate.
Uddhav Thackeray's latest statements assume significance at a time when his party is virtually in a tiff with its ally BJP on seat sharing issue ahead of Lok Sabha poll scheduled in April-May. The Sena has demanded more seats as well as swapping of few existing seats with BJP, who is unwilling to give up to its ally. Similarly, the NCP is at loggerheads with the Congress, which is unwilling to give more seats to its regional ally.
Political analysts feel that Sunday's meeting between Pawar and Yadav and the subsequent announcement of supporting each other for prime-ministership is to pressurise the Congress to seek greater political space, which ultimately will determine the picture of the next Lok Sabha.
Thackeray's huge rally of around 60,000 comes a week after Pawar's public meeting in the same Lok Sabha constituency, which did not see a crowd more than 15,000. Amidst a cheering crowd, Uddhav repeatedly made it clear that this is a farmers rally and not an election rally.
After handing over his original Baramati constituency to daughter Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar had expressed to make it to Rajya Sabha. However following repeated pressure by party workers, Pawar has said that he might contest the Lok Sabha polls.
While Pawar is yet to announce his plans and constituency, the NCP workers have been requesting him to contests the polls from Shirur, which is also a part of Pawar's hometown Pune.