Ally trouble in Maharashtra too | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Ally trouble in Maharashtra too

mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2010 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent

The BJP now has trouble with its strongest and oldest ally, the Shiv Sena, the only major party with which the former shares the Hindutva platform.

And the scene of their rift is Aurangabad, named after 17th Century Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who faced rebellion from Shivaji, the Maratha king Bal Thackarey named his party after.

In the election for chairman of the municipality standing committee, the BJP had tied up with the Congress to defeat the Sena candidate. That led to Shiv Sainiks ransacking the BJP office in the city.

The partners have now formed a coordination committee to iron out differences.

But by all accounts, the BJP is likely to rupture its alliance with the Sena in Aurangabad, the city where the two parties first came together 25 years ago due to the initiatives of the late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.

The general secretary of the Maharashtra unit of the BJP, Vinod Tawde, said a decision on this would be taken on Wednesday or Thursday.

“It is difficult to continue the alliance with the Sena there, especially after the office of our local leader Haribhau Bagde was attacked by Sainiks,” said a BJP functionary who did not want to be named.

However, it is unlikely that the scene will be replicated at the state level though leaders from both parties have been suggesting that it would dent the relations at the state level.

The saffron combine lost badly in the assembly elections last year.

The elections to civic bodies of major cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Thane are due in 2012. As such, the two parties cannot afford to break their alliance. For them, things have also become difficult with the emergence of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has gained ground in the Mumbai-Thane-Nashik-Pune quadrangle.

“The MNS made a dent in our votes in the assembly elections. Contesting separately will further create problems for us. And our relations with the BJP are becoming bitter day by day,” a top Shiv Sena functionary said.