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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Just before Uddhav Thackeray signs up with Cong-NCP, a public message from Nitin Gadkari

The Congress and the Sena have been bitter political adversaries for decades, and there has been no love lost between the two, especially over the Sena’s hardline Hindutva ideology.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2019 17:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nitin Gadkari during bhumi pujan of Katraj- Vadgaon road at Ambegaon in Pune, India, on Friday, November 15, 2019.
Nitin Gadkari during bhumi pujan of Katraj- Vadgaon road at Ambegaon in Pune, India, on Friday, November 15, 2019. (HT file photo)
         

As Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena appeared to be hours away from signing up a new set of friends in Maharashtra politics, senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Friday delivered a very public message to his former ally on the impact that the brand new alliance would have on the cause of Hindutva. Gadkari also predicted that the Sena’s new partnership, “an alliance of opportunism”, wouldn’t last long.

“There are ideological differences among Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP. The government will not go much ahead even if it is formed,” Gadkari said, according to news agency ANI. Gadkari believes that the alliance would not last for more than six to eight months.

The Congress and the Sena have been bitter political adversaries for decades, and there has been no love lost between the two, especially over the Sena’s hardline Hindutva ideology.

When the Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray first signalled that his party was willing to explore the option of working with the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, he had responded to critics over the differences in the Sena and the Congress’ ideology.

But he had pointed out that ideology could not be the only binding force between two political parties. Else, he reasoned, the BJP couldn’t have been in alliance with Mehbooha Mufti’s PDP in J&K, Nitish Kumar’s JDU in Bihar or Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party in Haryana.

Watch l ‘Alliance of opportunism, won’t last’: Nitin Gadkari on Sena, NCP & Cong 

Gadkari appeared to suggest that the divorce between the Shiv Sena and the BJP in Maharashtra would have an impact far beyond the possibility of the state slipping out of the NDA’s grasp.

“The BJP and Shiv Sena alliance was based on ideology of Hindutva and even today we don’t have much ideological differences… Breaking of such an alliance is not only a loss to the country but also to Hindutva cause and to Maharashtra,” the Union Road and Highways Minister said, according to ANI.

For now, the Shiv Sena and its two new partners have decided to set aside their differences in ideology and accommodate each other.

The draft common minimum programme that has been firmed up between the three parties in a way that takes care of the sensibilities of the other. The Sena, for instance, had expressed reservation to the use of word “secularism” and the Congress agreed to change it to ensure all hurdles in the way of a stable coalition government to Maharashtra are removed.

In its final version, the document reflects the pledge to uphold the “secular values enshrined in the Constitution”.

Given that the three parties often have divergent view on contentious issues, the three parties have decided to take a joint view after consultations and arriving at a consensus.