Angered by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) tepid invitation to president Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena boycotted the Indu Mill Foundation stone laying ceremony on Sunday. The Sena criticised the government over providing inadequate relief to the drought-hit farmers.
“If we had single handedly come to power, we would have done a lot more for the farmers,” said the Sena chief from Beed. He said he was not bothered about staying in power. “We are committed to the welfare of the farmers than sticking to power. If need be, we will opt out of the government,” he added.
Thackeray was speaking at a farmers’ convention organised by the Sena, where he announced a relief of Rs10,000 each for 1,000 farmers. Thackeray had asked all party MPs, leaders and workers not to participate in the function chaired by PM Narendra Modi.
Minister of environment of state Ramdas Kadam attacked Modi saying that he was focused more on providing relief packages to Bihar. Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe said the BJP had mishandled the issue. “All political parties are invited in such events, but this was not the case this time,” she said.
The boycott is a sign of relations between the allies turning from bad to worse.
While CM Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP president Raosaheb Danve made calls to invite allies and Dalit leaders, housing minister Prakash Mehta invited Thackeray on Saturday evening.
Sena leaders said this was an insult to Thackeray as the invite came in too late and the CM did not bother to call.
The Congress, meanwhile, asked the Sena to pull out of the government. “This is a matter of shame; despite repeated insults, the Sena is still sticking to power. The party should quit the government at the earliest,” said Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.