Mumbai, July 26
A day before his 56th birthday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray hit the strong note, asserting the Sena will walk out of its alliance with the BJP if it is taken for granted and if his legislators aren’t treated with respect.
He slammed the BJP by calling the 25 years the two were allies a “waste of time”. If not for those years, Thackeray said, the Sena would have come to power on its own in Maharashtra sooner.
The remarks are likely to lead to heightened tensions between the allies as they come a day after Sena MLAs, angry at being sidelined by BJP ministers, told the Sena chief the party should walk out of the government and support it from the outside.
This is the third day in a row that Thackeray has criticised the BJP and the Modi government through a three-part interview published in party mouthpiece Saamna.
“The moment I feel we are being taken for granted and that our MLAs are not being given importance, I’ll not remain in the government,” Thackeray said.
But he went on to add the party will not threaten the BJP. “I won’t blackmail the government and make it unstable. I’ll speak my mind on what I don’t like, but I’ll never stab them in the back,” he said in the interview, on a question about the Sena’s equations with the BJP on power-sharing.
The two parties—ruling allies in the Central and state governments and even in the Mumbai civic body—are locked in a bitter tussle ahead of the Mumbai civic polls scheduled to be held early next year.
While the Sena has been dominating the alliance ruling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that governs India’s financial capital for two decades, the BJP is now making a determined attempt to win it on its own.
The BJP leadership is keen the party controls the BMC and reduces the Sena’s influence. Both parties share the same voter base in the state and the Sena could be a hurdle in BJP’s expansion.
Knowing its ally’s game plan, the Sena too has been aggressive, targeting the BJP over the issue of governance. Thackeray made it clear the Sena’s aim remains coming to power on its own, with or without the BJP.
“I’ve taken a vow that I’ll ensure the Sena gets its own chief minister. If this isn’t possible in alliance with the BJP, then we will walk out.”
The Sena chief continued to take potshots at the BJP on Tuesday, mocking its electoral defeats in Tamil Nadu and Bihar. “You claim to stand for a corruption-free India. Then, why did people choose Jayalalithaa and Lalu, both having corruption cases, over you?”