In a move that is likely to irk the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Sunday extended an olive branch to sacked RSS Goa chief Subhash Velingkar. In a two-hour meeting with Velingkar in Panjim, Sena MP Sanjay Raut declared full support to the former RSS Goa chief and even offered to form an alliance with his newly formed outfit to contest the upcoming Goa Assembly polls against the BJP.
Velingkar was sacked by the RSS for running a campaign against the BJP in Goa for continuing grants to around 140 church-run English medium schools recently. He is now making efforts to form an alliance with local parties to pull down the current BJP government in the state Assembly elections scheduled next year.
Sena, which is one of the BJP’s oldest allies, has supported Velingkar because the party claimed it “wanted to protect the mother tongue of Goa — Konkani”. The party has already declared it will contest 20 seats, half the total strength of the Goa assembly.
Raut said the party doesn’t want to interfere in the RSS’s internal problem, but it certainly feels Velingkar is fighting to protect Goa’s mother tongue and thus they are share a common cause.
“We need to protect our mother tongues, be it Hindi, Marathi, Konkani or Bengali. Hence we have decided to support Velingkar in his movement,” Raut told HT.
He then charged former chief minister and Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar for betraying his campaign promise of discontinuing grants to schools run by missionary organisations. “By giving grants to these schools, they [BJP government] is eradicating regional language schools,” Raut said.
The BJP and the Sena do not share a cordial relationship after the former refused to accept its demand for a certain number of berths in the Narendra Modi cabinet. With several upcoming elections, including the BMC polls, both the allies are taking every opportunity to target each other.
When asked if the BJP may get upset with their move, Raut replied they would have considered it if the matter was related to Maharashtra. “Outside Maharashtra we have no alliance with anyone,” he said.