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Shiv Sena to contest 25 seats in Gujarat polls, to support Hardik Patel in remaining constituencies

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party plans to give the BJP a tough fight, and strengthen its position outside Maharashtra,a senior leader said.

mumbai Updated: Nov 01, 2017 08:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The Sena stayed out of the 2012 Gujarat polls to avoid the division of Hindu votes, but its increasingly strained relations with the BJP has prompted it to enter the fray this time.(HT File)

As relations between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) get more strained and bitter, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has decided to take on its ally in the Gujarat Assembly polls, scheduled to be held in December.

The Sena had stayed out of the 2012 Gujarat polls to avoid the division of Hindu votes.

A senior Sena leader, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the party will contest at least 25 seats to hurt the BJP’s chances. “Our party chief Uddhav Thackeray has decided to contest around 25 seats in Gujarat. We are ready to put up a tough fight against the BJP,” the senior party leader said. “The decision has been taken also to strengthen the party’s position outside Maharashtra.”

The Sena will also extend support to Hardik Patel, leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, in the remaining constituencies, he added.

The party will target the BJP over issues such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which have severely affected Gujarat’s business and trader communities.

Earlier this year, Thackeray had hosted Patel, a bitter critic of the BJP, at Matoshree, his home in Bandra (East), and praised the young Patidar leader.

Gujarat elections will be held in two phases -- on December 9 for 89 seats, and on December 14 for 93 seats. Results will be announced for all 182 seats on December 18.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 11:12 IST