The saffron allies are looking in opposite directions again.
Shiv Sena has decided to pitch for a united Maharashtra even as its ally of 20 years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has launched a campaign for a separate Vidarbha state.
Senior Sena leaders, in a meeting at Sena Bhavan on Friday, decided to tackle the Vidarbha problem by focusing on developmental issues and organising a series of seminars to educate the people of the region. The contradictory stand taken by the alliance partners may result in further bitterness between them.
“The Sena has always and will always say that Maharashtra has to stay united,” senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote said. Raote is the party’s leader in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions.
He said a delegation of Sena MLAs and MPs led by party executive president Uddhav Thackeray will meet the governor, asking for an increase in the budgetary allocation for the statutory development boards of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
“Once there is more money for the region, development will follow,” he said.
Raote added that party will organise seminars to educate people about the importance of remaining a united state and assuring them that the development of Vidarbha will benefit them. He said the Sena was not concerned with the BJP’s stand on the issue.
“Every party has its own agenda and we will go by what we have planned,” Raote said. “We are not concerned about what other parties in the region are doing.”
Sena compares Sachin to Shivaji
Months after publicly criticising Sachin Tendulkar for his comment that Mumbai is for all, the Sena on Friday praised the cricket maestro saying that the people of this country had already crowned Tendulkar as Bharat Ratna.
Sena chief Bal Thackeray praised Sachin in an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, comparing him to Maratha warrior king, Shivaji.
“Shivaji Maharaj used to vanquish Moghuls on the battlefield. Similarly, Sachin is a warrior on the battlefield of cricket,” the editorial said. “Such warriors are born only in Maharashtra... Shivaji wielded the sword. Sachin wields the bat. Sachin does not need anyone’s recommendation to be awarded Bharat Ratna. He is already one.”