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Shiv Sena takes on ally BJP, to contest polls in three states

Shiv Sena will field its candidates against ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly elections

mumbai Updated: Nov 08, 2018 21:32 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai news,Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

The Shiv Sena will field its candidates against ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly elections.

While the BJP continues to be confident about allying with the Shiv Sena for the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019, the Sena has been repeatedly taking on its ally in elections — it earlier fielded candidates in Gujarat and for the Lok Sabha bypolls in Palghar.

Sena leaders said the party will adopt its Hindutva agenda in all three states. Elections in Chhattisgarh will be held in two phases – on November 12 and November 20; Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will go to the polls on November 28 and December 7.

Rajya Sabha MP and Sena secretary, Anil Desai, confirmed the party’s decision to contest against the BJP and other parties.

“We will fight the election on our own strength, and as decided, we will contest it in all states,” said Desai.

“In Rajasthan, we are going to field candidates in 80 seats, in Chhattisgarh, we will contest 50 seats, and in MP, we will contest around 100 seats.”

With just months left for the general elections, the results in the three states are crucial for the BJP especially because the party has been facing anti-incumbency. BJP leaders, however, feel the Sena’s entry is unlikely to have an impact on BJP’s numbers. In Gujarat, the Sena failed to disturb the BJP electorally, and in a a neck-to-neck tussle, the BJP scored over the Sena in Palghar too. But Sena’s continuous attempts to damage BJP’s prospects has widened the rift between the two parties further, leaders said.

State finance minister and senior BJP leader, Sudhir Mungantiwar, said Sena’s decision to contest polls in the three states would not dent the BJP in anyway. “Even in the past, they have contested elections in other states. It is their right to contest. They will present their side, we will present ours; and the people will elect the ones they like,” Mungantiwar said. The minister, who has been involved in alliance discussions with the Sena in the past, added, “We do not think them contesting elections will have an impact in anyway.” “Hindutva is going to be our main agenda, apart from other local issues of the state. The selection process of the candidates was done through our state-level office-bearers,” added a Sena functionary.

First Published: Nov 07, 2018 00:39 IST