Will build anti-BJP front: Sena’s Raut
Is the Shiv Sena planning an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party front across India? A statement by its leader Sanjay Raut, after a conversation between him and Goa Forward party’s Vijai Sardesai, said the party would try to do so, starting with Goa.
“After Maharashtra it is Goa, and then we will go to other states. We want to make a non-BJP political front in this country,” Raut told reporters in Mumbai on Friday morning.
It is unlikely the BJP government in Goa will be at risk. The party has 27 members in a 40-member house, and also the support of three independents. Analysts say Raut’s claim could be more posturing by the Sena, which hurled barbs at the BJP even when the two were allies.
Raut’s comment came after Sardesai called for the setting up of an anti-BJP front in Goa on the lines of the Maha Vikas Aghadi of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress in Maharashtra. The Congress has five MLAs in Goa, and the NCP, one. The Goa Forward Party has three.
Sardesai and his party colleagues who were sacked from the government travelled to Mumbai for the swearing-in of the new government and to congratulate the Shiv Sena and NCP leaders on its formation.
“We three of the Goa Forward have met Sanjay Raut and also Praful Patel of the NCP, we had gone to congratulate them on the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. We intend to have such kind of an experiment being recreated in Goa so as to bring an alternative to the anti-people government of Pramod Sawant, which is working for itself for their self-interest for their pecuniary interest not for the interest of Goa,” Sardesai said.
However, the state government dismissed claims that it was unstable.
“They can continue to dream. Our government is strong under the leadership of Pramod Sawant and looking at his leadership, 10 Congress MLAs joined. There is no doubt that this government will last the full term, no one will have the gall to shake this government. Even the next five years will be ours,” deputy chief minister Manohar Ajgaonkar (formerly of the NCP), said.
The Congress too dismissed Sardesai’s claims.
“There is no front today. Is it a legislative front or a political front which he is talking about?” Goa Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello asked. He accused Sardesai of backing the BJP in 2017, helping it form the government in the state.
Sardesai claimed his party was “backstabbed by the BJP after even being responsible for the formation of that government”.
The BJP won only 13 seats in the 2017 assembly elections, initially formed the government with the support of GFP and a few others, but has since taken its strength up to 27.