The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) found itself fending off attacks not just from the Opposition in the state legislature, but also from its ally the Shiv Sena on Monday.
On a day which began with the BJP-led government strategising ways to handle the Opposition’s attack in the state legislature over the alleged scams involving its ministers, the Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, indirectly threatened to pull the plug on the coalition.
Slighting the state leadership, the editorial said, “The time has come to get out of the ‘Opposition mode’ and portray a strong leadership. The Sena was born not only to come to power, but to ensure the betterment of society, protect Maharashtra and the nation. If anything goes haywire on this front, we will not spare anyone.” The opinions expressed in the editorial are seen as those of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Sena leaders, who faced the Opposition along with the BJP on the first day of the monsoon session of the state legislature on Monday, said the editorial and their party chief had made it clear the Sena was not going to be a sitting duck.
“We are surely not quitting the government as of now, but it will be a tit-for-tat situation at every point. If anything is wrong and we do not agree with it, we will express our opinion,” said a senior Sena minister. Defending its criticism towards the BJP, the editorial said it is constructive criticism.
“The Fadnavis government is running on the support of the Sena and the situation is such that we are answerable to the people on all this,” it stated.
It said there are several scams and allegations ranging from the ‘chikki’ scam, the Raj Purohit CD case, the ‘degree issue’, which will overrun the upcoming monsoon session and the Sena will be also questioned about it. It also hinted it is not the Opposition, but someone else who is behind the allegations against the BJP ministers.
Taking an indirect jibe at BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar, the editorial said, “Some people can only see nullahs over issues of national interest like border unrest with Pakistan,” it said. Shelar had advised Uddhav, who expressed his displeasure at the Modi-Sharif meet, to change his outlook and look inward at problems like the contractor not completing nullah works, which had recently left Mumbai flooded.
“There is need to control the growth of such rabid dogs [Shelar], just as the government is taking steps to prevent the growth of rats to prevent leptospirosis,” it said. The editorial ended by saying a hint was enough for those who were smart (samajhne walle ko ishara kafi hai).