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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

It’s Sena vs BJP again, this time over Bal Thackeray

Shiv Sena is trying to stitch an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form a government.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2019 20:10 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis pays tributes to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray at his memorial at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park on Sunday.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis pays tributes to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray at his memorial at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park on Sunday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)
         

Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday praised Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and called him a source of inspiration. Fadnavis’ tributes for Thackeray come amid worsening of ties between Sena and BJP after they were unable to agree to a power-sharing deal to form a government.

Fadvavis shared a video of a speech by Thackeray on Twitter and said he taught people the value of “self-respect”. “Hundreds of salutations to Hindu Hriday Samrat Bal Thackeray on his death anniversary,” Fadnavis tweeted in Marathi.

In the afternoon, Fadnavis attended an event in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park to mark the death anniversary of Thackeray. The former CM arrived after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya had left the venue. In a sign of changing political equations in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders also paid tribute to the Sena patriarch.

WATCH | Fadnavis pays homage to Bal Thackeray weeks after break-up with Shiv Sena

Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who also paid his respects to the venue, hit back at Fadnavis and said that nobody needs to teach them the values of Hindutva. “We will give befitting reply [to the taunts] on self-respect, Hindutva and nationalism at the right time. We will fulfil Uddhavji’s [Uddhav Thackeray] promise to Balasaheb [Bal Thackeray] of having a chief minister from Sena,” he said.

Sena is trying to stitch an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Congress to form a government. The three parties have been holding talks over the past weeks trying to chalk out a common minimum programme (CMP) since the three parties have had different ideologies traditionally.

Pawar had said the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance will soon form a government in Maharashtra that will complete its five-year term.

A meeting between Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi which was scheduled for Sunday has now been postponed and likely to take place on Monday or Tuesday.

In Pune, Pawar will meet his party’s core committee on Sunday to discuss the political scenario in the state. A Congress leader, who wished not to be named, said the meeting was postponed as Pawar won’t be able to make it to Delhi on time due to the NCP meeting on Sunday.

BJP, the single-largest party after the polls, has 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly while Sena 56. Congress and NCP have 44 and 54 seats.

Last week, President’s Rule was imposed in the state after governor B S Koshyari told the Centre that no party was in a position to form the government.

Arvind Sawant, the lone Sena minister in the Union government, quit after the NCP said that it was open to supporting his party if they leave NDA. Sena plans to skip a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the winter session of Parliament from Monday.

President’s rule was imposed on November 12 after none of the parties could prove majority in the Assembly.