BJP unfazed with Shiv Sena’s decision to snap ties, terms it ‘muscle flexing’

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday announced that it would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections on its own, and elevated Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya, 27, in its hierarchy to make him a part of the core team.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2018 23:23 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Shiv Sena,BJP,2019 Lok Sabha elections
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya (left) was elevated in the party hierarchy on Tuesday at the party’s national executive meeting held at the NSCI, Worli.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

The BJP leadership remains unfazed with the Shiv Sena’s announcement to contest the next national and assembly election separately. The BJP dismissed the Sena’s posturing as “muscle flexing”, which it was “not taking seriously”.

BJP leaders insist if the Sena was serious about snapping ties, it would have walked out of the governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra immediately.

BJP leaders here remained tight-lipped and left it to state leaders to respond. A call was made from BJP headquarters to Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar to give a ‘befitting’ response. “It will be their (Sena) loss,” he said. “We were keen on the alliance. But if the Sena isn’t keen, then the BJP is ready (to go it alone) and Maharashtra is also ready.”

Sena is BJP’s oldest ally but they divorced during 2014 assembly election after a dispute over seat sharing. The BJP fielded candidates in 260 out of 288 seats and won 122 while the Sena contested 282 and won 63. Both fell short of the half-way mark and united to form the government. But their relationship has been strained.

“It was Sena’s decision then (during assembly election) and it is their decision now. We have nothing to add to it,” a top BJP leader in New Delhi said.

Another BJP leader claimed that Sena’s real trouble lies with its unfulfilled demands for a deputy CM’s post government and allocation of “some important portfolios” to its ministers. Sena leaders have argued that BJP’s Gopinath Munde was appointed deputy CM in the last Sena-BJP government from 1995-1999 and it was BJP’s time to reciprocate. The BJP’s rise under Narendra Modi has also loosened Sena’s control over municipal bodies, making it jittery about prospects of expanding the party.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 23:23 IST