The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is grappling with troubles in its alliance with the Janata Dal (United) in the north but all is not well on the western front either.
The relations between the BJP and its ally of 25 years, the Shiv Sena, have turned sour over control of the civic standing committee in Aurangabad Municipal Corporation. The Sena was upset with the BJP for taking the help of the Congress to win control of the corporation’s standing committee.
The BJP had agreed to vacate the chairmanship of the committee after Sena protested but the committee’s chairman, Raju Shinde, refused to step down. Sena workers retaliated by ransacking the committee’s meeting hall and attacked the office of local BJP leader.
The party is, thus, likely to break ties with the Sena in Aurangabad, the city where the two parties first came together 25 years ago. “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,” a BJP functionary said.
It is unlikely that the party will hastily snap ties with the Sena at the state level because the allies need each other for the civic elections to be held in Mumbai, Pune and Thane in 2012. The emergence of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) that has gained ground in the Mumbai-Thane-Nashik-Pune quadrangle has created more trouble. “The MNS made a dent in our votes in the Assembly polls. Contesting separately will create more problems for us,” a senior Sena leader said.
BJP General Secretary Vinod Tawde said the decision on the alliance in Aurangabad will be taken on Wednesday or Thursday. “Our senior leaders visited Aurangabad and discussed the issue,” Tawde said.
Sena leaders in Mumbai chose not to speak. “Our local leaders will speak on this,” said senior leader Subhash Desai.