The uneasy ties between the saffron allies in Maharashtra took a turn for the worse on Tuesday after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray called the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) defeat in the Delhi polls a verdict against PM Narendra Modi.
An already upset BJP reacted by asking the Sena to step out of the state government before criticising the Prime Minister.
The tussle started during a press conference in Mumbai when a beaming Thackeray congratulated the people of Delhi for making their choice independent of aggressive publicity campaigns and strategies ahead of the polls.
“Delhi’s election result is a win of democracy. It has been proven that despite the strategies and pressures, people thought [Arvind] Kejriwal is the best. This is a lesson that people in the country are restless and can’t be taken for granted. It also proved that a tsunami is greater than a wave,” said Thackeray.
He also agreed with activist Anna Hazare’s view that AAP’s victory was a verdict against Modi. “One will have to agree with it… as everyone was referring to the Modi wave earlier,” he said.
When asked what advice he would give his ally, the BJP, Thackeray said the people of Delhi had already given them advice on how to behave. Thackeray also said he will attend Kejriwal’s oath-taking ceremony as CM if he is invited.
BJP, however, was not too happy with the Sena’s stance, “PM Modi is our leader, so if Sena wants to criticise him, then they should quit the government first. They can’t criticise the PM while continuing to share power. That is the sentiment of our party workers,” said Ashish Shelar, BJP legislator and Mumbai chief.
He said instead of discussing the Delhi elections, Sena should focus locally and introspect on their losses in the recently concluded Palghar district polls.
BJP state president Raosaheb Danve also taunted Thackeray, saying those who are incapable of giving rise to either a wave or a tsunami, should keep mum on such issues.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) added fuel to the fire by challenging the Sena to quit the government. “The Sena should pull out of the government and then criticise [it]. We will back them to bring down the government and have elections again,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.
This is not the first time the allies have clashed since Sena belatedly joined the government with the BJP. Recently, Thackeray had criticised the state and Central government efforts at handling drought in the state, pointing out that relief measures for farmers were not enough.
In the party mouth piece, Saamana, the Sena chief had asked when the ‘ache din’ will become a reality for people.