The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in an attempt to save its two-decade-old alliance with the Shiv Sena, has said that it is not planning to include the Sena’s arch rival, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), in the saffron alliance.
“We are not looking at striking any kind of alliance with the MNS. We have had a successful partnership with the Shiv Sena and we will work on strengthening it,” Venkaiah Naidu, the BJP’s convenor for Maharashtra, said on Sunday after a 105-minute meeting between senior Sena and BJP leaders at Dadar’s Kohinoor Hotel.
The alliance has been under stress since senior BJP leader, Gopinath Munde, suggested in February that the MNS should join hands with the saffron allies to beat the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party.
The Sena had made its displeasure very evident through editorials in the party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, with Sena chief Bal Thackeray accusing the
BJP of piggybacking on regional parties to get a mainstream status.
Senior party leaders decided to meet to resolve the issue, given that the tension between the allies had escalated.
The ties between the Sena and BJP have been strained for the last couple of years.
Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse and Sena’s Jalgaon strongman Suresh Jain had openly indulged in a verbal slugfest attacking each others credentials after Khadse blamed his son, Nikhil’s, defeat in the Jalgaon council polls on Jain.
The two parties met on Sunday to resolve all these issues. Naidu was accompanied by other senior BJP leaders such as Munde, state president Sudhir Mungattiwar and general secretary Vinod Tawde. Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray attended the meeting with former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and Jain.
The two parties have decided to set up a state level coordination committee of eight members, which will look into areas of conflict and take remedial measures.
“We will set up these coordination committees at state level and district levels,” Naidu said.