MUMBAI: The spat between the ruling saffron partners came out in open on Tuesday when Shiv Sena said it shouldn’t be “pushed to execute its alternatives” in terms of government formation, the BJP stated that the undue criticism it has to take from “'Saamana' ” is actually hurting the alliance.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and editor of party mouthpiece ''Saamana' ', Sanjay Raut, On Tuesday virtually threatened the BJP, saying that his party shouldn’t be forced to execute the ‘alternatives’ it has in terms of government formation, while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the undue criticism of the BJP by ‘'Saamana' ’ is not going down well with the party workers and in that sense is hurting the alliance.
“(Sena president) Uddhav Thackerayji has said we have other options too, but we don't want to do the sin of accepting that alternative...the Shiv Sena has practised politics of truth, the party isnot hungry for power,” Raut told reporters here.
“Shiv Sena should not be compelled to look for an alternative to form the next government in Maharashtra and asserted there are no saints in politics,” Raut said.
The Shiv Sena has been demanding CM’s position while referring to Fadnavis’ announcement in February ahead of Lok Sabha election where he had spoken of “equitable distribution of power and posts” in Maharashtra as the basis of the alliance in Maharashtra. The BJP is not ready to budge stating that “equitable distribution” of power and posts doesn’t mean “sharing the CM’s post for 2.5 years”.
The BJP, on the other hand, is not happy with the Shiv Sena’s strategy of playing “opposition” while still being in the power and is blaming the Sena mouthpiece for that. The editorials of ‘'Saamana' ’ are considered to be the ‘policy’ of the party as the party head is the editor of the newspaper. Whenever BJP raises the issue, Shiv Sena escapes seeking treatment to ‘'Saamana' ’ a just a newspaper. BJP leaders had blamed ''Saamana' ' in the past for the ‘bitterness’ in alliance. While interacting with reporters at his residence on occasion of Diwali, Fadnavis raised the issue once again.
“Though I won’t say that the criticism (of BJP and government) in ''Saamana' ' hurts the alliance, it certainly hurts party workers and in that sense it affects the alliance. At several times the criticism is undue,” Fadnavis said asking why “''Saamana' ' is not that vitiating critical of Congress and the NCP”.
Ever since the BJP’s tally fell in the recently-held assembly polls, results for which were announced on October 24, the Sena raised its pitch for a rotational chief ministership between the two parties for a period of 2.5 years.
Sena MLAs last week demanded that Thackeray’s son Aaditya, a first-time legislator, be made the Chief Minister, while Fadnavis is expected to be elected leader of BJP legislature party on Wednesday.
Thackeray had last week reminded the BJP of the 50:50 formula “agreed upon” between himself, Shah and Fadnavis ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The Shiv Sena interprets it as sharing the CM’s post for 2.5 years each. However, Fadnavis flatly denied having ever discussed sharing of the chief minister’s post, let alone having promised it.
“Amit (Shah) ji and Uddhav (Thackeray)ji had a discussion behind closed door for some time. I joined them a short while later. But, the issue never came up in conversation before me. I also checked with our party president whether they had any discussion before I joined them, he replied in negative,” Fadnavis told reporters on Tuesday.
Shiv Sena then came up with an old video of the CM where he speaks about “equal sharing of posts and responsibilities in the state government”. However, when the party realised that it doesn’t prove the point, Raut said, “If things are to be flatly denied like this, we will have to redefine truth”.
Earlier, in the day, in an interview given to a local news channel, Raut had expressed possibility of him being arrested in some fake case or being eliminated to silence him. “Bitterness of editorials is the power of 'Saamana' . It won’t ever go away,” Raut said adding that he is not afraid of any kinds of threats including one to his life.