The Shiv Sena, an ally of BJP at the Centre and Maharashtra, has decided to contest Bihar assembly elections on Hindutva and development plank.
“We enjoy good support in Bihar and our workers want us to contest the polls,” said Sena MP Sanjay Raut. He also said that the party was very popular in Bihar owing to its nationalistic outlook. “We have been very consistent with our Hindutva agenda and development will be the main plank,” he added. Top leaders of Sena are expected to campaign in Bihar.
When asked if Sena fighting the polls would result in split of votes for it ally BJP, Raut retorted that the BJP then should take corrective measures. “In that case, they should leave a good number of seats for us. We will not be satisfied with five or six but we want a bigger chunk of seats,” he added. The party is yet to decide how many seats it will be contesting.
The Sena in the past had unsuccessfully contested assembly polls in several states outside Maharashtra. Political observers have termed Sena's participation in the Bihar elections as 'nuisance value'. “It will not impact the BJP,” said noted political activist Nilu Damle.
At present, Bihar is embroiled in a high profile electoral battle as the BJP with its allies is pitted against the formidable alliance of chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Both the groups have unleashed an intense campaign evoking the Bihar pride.