Gujarat elections: Shiv Sena’s Maharashtra ministers to campaign against BJP
Ministers and senior leaders will campaign against their ally at the end of this month; Uddhav Thackeray may address a rally, toomumbai Updated: Nov 16, 2017 09:58 IST
As the Shiv Sena prepares to contest in the Gujarat Assembly polls, some of its ministers from Maharashtra, as well as other senior leaders, are slated to campaign in the neighbouring state at the end of this month.
The Sena, which shares power with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra and has five Cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state, will campaign against its ally in Gujarat.
The party’s decision to contest the Gujarat polls, after sitting out in 2012, is aimed at hurting the chances of the BJP, with whom its relations are severely strained. The Gujarat polls are scheduled in two phases: on December 9 and December 14. Results will be declared on December 18.
Rajul Patel, Sena’s Gujarati wing coordinator and firebrand Mumbai corporator, said that once nominations are filed, Sena leaders and ministers will start campaigning in Gujarat. The party also plans to use its Gujarati faces to connect with voters. “Not just Gujarati leaders, our ministers and star campaigners will also visit Gujarat,” she said.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray may also address a rally in Gujarat. “There is a possibility that Uddhavji may address a rally, if the people’s mood is upbeat,” Patel said.
The Sena will contest around 60 seats for which its candidates will start filing nomination papers the next weekend, she said. “In the first phase, we will field around 35 candidates, and the rest will be in the second phase. Nominations will be filed next week.”
Known for its anti-Gujarati plank in the 1960s, over the years, the Sena has softened its stance and awarded with top posts in the party to Gujaratis , as municipal corporators, legislators and even in Parliament.
The party plans to contest the Gujarat polls on the hardline Hindutva agenda, a poll plank once adopted by the BJP. In line with this agenda, Haresh Bhatt, vice-president of Bajrang Dal’s Gujarat unit, was inducted into the Sena on Monday.