BJP-Sena Alliance Frays But Stays

The bitterness between them grew as Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut called Fadnavis “pro-Pakistani.

Published: 14th October 2015 03:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2015 09:44 AM   |  A+A-


MUMBAI: The relations between ruling partners in Maharashtra, BJP and Shiv Sena,  hit another low on Tuesday as both parties questioned the other’s nationalism. There was speculation that Sena ministers would quit the Devendra Fadnavis-led government soon as they are receiving step motherly treatment from the BJP.

However, sources in both parties made it clear to Express that the parties would continue their partnership till at least December 2016. The talks of another divorce began after the BJP and Shiv Sena severed their ties in local body polls. The voting for Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation, ruled by the BJP and Shiv Sena for 15 years, is scheduled on November 2.

The bitterness between them grew as Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut called Fadnavis “pro-Pakistani”. In retaliation, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari asked how many Sena workers have died so far while fighting for the cause of Kashmir.

To rub salt on the wounds, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray felicitated six party workers who were arrested for smearing oil paint on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni on Monday. Thackeray invited Gajanan Patil, Dinesh Prasad, Venkatesh Nair, Ashok Waghmare, Prakash Husbe and Samadhan Jadhav to his residence Matoshree in Bandra and patted their backs. He also presented them bouquets.

Patil, the Shiv Sena unit chief in Sion, admitted that he was involved in the paint attack on Kulkarni. “Whatever we did was in accordance with our party’s line that each Pakistan sympathiser should be made aware of his fault. I regret we could not stop the book release,” he said.

Thackeray assigned the task of taking on the BJP to Sanjay Raut, executive editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamna. “It was a right decision to felicitate those who fought against Pakistan. They did not disturb law and order in the city,” Raut said.

Raut also fired a salvo at Fadnavis by questioning whether the CM was a nationalist. 

“He says our State has got a bad name due to our agitation against Khurshid Kasuri. This shows that he failed to understand Maharashtra. It is his statement and support to Kasuri that brought a bad name to the State. The CM’s decision to provide security to Kasuri is an insult to martyr Tukaram Ombale, who died fighting Pakistani terrorists. It is an insult to the entire security force,” Raut said.

In a counter to Raut, Bhandari asked why the Shiv Sena MP had gone to Pakistan twice as a member of the Union government’s delegation if his party did not appreciate the country’s sponsored terrorism in India. “He raised doubt on the CM’s nationalism. I must tell him that Devendraji was a part of an ABVP team that had gone to Srinagar to hoist the tricolour under the leadership of Murli Manohar Joshiji. Our first president Shyama Prasad Mookerjee sacrificed his life for Kashmir. I would like to ask how many Shiv Sena workers have died for the cause of Kashmir? They have no right to question our nationalism,” said Bhandari

A senior BJP minister told Express that Shiv Sena will not quit the government till December 2016. The election of the prestigious Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), ruled by Shiv Sena since 1997, is due in February 2017. Raut discarded the possibility of quitting the government.


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