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Shiv Sena mocks BJP for bypolls defeat, but Maharashtra CM confident that ally won’t desert it

BJP’s tally may drop by 100-110 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Sena said in an editorial in the Saamana

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 12:48 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Shiv Sena,BJP,by-polls
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was defeated on his home turf this week.(HT Photo)

Even as the Shiv Sena used the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar bypolls to mock its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the reversal of its electoral fortunes on Friday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed confidence that the saffron allies would contest the upcoming elections together.

He also said he was confident the Sena would back the BJP by voting in its favour in a no-confidence motion moved in the Lok Sabha.

“The party leadership in Delhi will hold talks with the Shiv Sena over voting for a no-confidence motion on Monday. But I am confident the Rashtravadi and Hindutvavadi [nationalist and pro-Hindutva] parties will back the BJP. Similarly, we will fight the elections together in the forthcoming elections,’’ said Fadnavis. The chief minister was speaking to the media informally at the state legislature.

Fadnavis’ confidence in his ally comes even as the Sena, in its mouthpiece Saamana, took a jibe at the BJP saying its tally may drop by 100 to 110 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls going by the trends in the recent bypolls.

In an editorial titled “The beginning of the end”, the party said there have been 10 bypolls after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, of which the BJP has lost nine, taking the BJP’s tally from 282 to 272, which is the halfway mark in the 543-strong Lok Sabha. The Modi wave, the editorial proclaimed, has receded.

“The two wins by the Samajwadi Party in BJP bastions of Gorakhpur and Phulpur have created panic in the BJP camp, even as they were busy celebrating the party’s victory in a small state like Tripura last week,” the editorial said.

The UP and Bihar bypoll results, as well as the no-confidence motion on Monday, has evidently made the BJP in the state more sombre. Instead of the staple tit-for-tat response to criticism in Saamana, the BJP maintained a dignified silence. The party also swiftly extended its support to the Sena candidate in the Mumbai civic bypoll to be held in ward no. 173 on April 6. This announcement to back its ally was made by Sena baiter and BJP city chief Ashish Shelar, following directives from the chief minister.

The state BJP president Raosaheb Danve also said the allies would come together despite such criticism and differences. “As political parties, our allies have their own political existence and have the right to expand their base. As the elections approaches, the differences between alliance partners surfaces, but those are resolved after some time. I am sure the BJP and the Sena will fight the elections together,” he said.

The Sena, however, remained non-committal about joining hands with the BJP in the future polls as well as backing it in the no-confidence motion. “The BJP’s support in the BMC by-polls comes as the exchange of the support we extended in the by poll of ward 21 (Kandivli) last year. It has nothing to do with the no-confidence motion and elections in the future,” said a senior Sena leader. He said the party’s stand over a no-confidence would be taken at the right time.

Both the BJP and the Sena have denied having held any meeting to discuss the support on the no-confidence motion. Sena leader and union leader Anant Geete met CM Fadnavis during the function of the launch of the hybrid bus on Friday morning. Fadnavis and Geete said there was nothing political in that meeting.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 15:04 IST