The confusion over the potential realignment of BJP and Shiv Sena persisted on Tuesday after Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s cryptic response to the media.
The confusion over the potential realignment of BJP and Shiv Sena persisted on Tuesday after Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s cryptic response to the media. Flanked by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and PWD Minister Ashok Chavan while addressing a press briefing after the conclusion of the two-day Assembly session, he said, “I am sitting between these two persons. Tell me from which side I can leave”. On being pressed further about backchannel talks between the erstwhile allies, he added, “What will happen now if nothing happened after being together for 30 years”.
This is perceived as a reference to Sena’s grouse about BJP’s alleged ‘big brother’ attitude during their alliance which spanned over three decades. Responding to a question on Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s letter, Thackeray remarked, “The purport of the letter was that the Centre is misusing Central investigating agencies. And he has given his own example”.
Unease in MVA
Despite winning a comfortable majority of its own in the 2019 Assembly election, NDA could not form the government over Shiv Sena’s demand for the rotational CM post. Subsequently, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the CM of Maharashtra backed by new allies NCP and Congress on November 28, 2019. However, unease within the alliance has come to the fore on multiple occasions with the Sonia Gandhi-led party openly asserting that it wants to go solo in the next Assembly polls.
On June 20, Republic TV accessed an explosive letter written by Sarnaik to the Maharashtra CM dated June 9. At present, he is under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the Tops Grup case and the National Spot Exchange Limited money laundering case. Quoting unnamed MLAs, he claimed that the Sena legislators cannot get their work done despite having Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister.
Batting for Shiv Sena rejoining NDA, the Ovala-Majiwada MLA wrote, “Congress is adopting the stance of going solo. On the other hand, NCP is poaching leaders and workers of Shiv Sena instead of other parties. I also want to bring to your notice that some Ministers and officers have joined hands with the ruling party at the Centre without your knowledge to ensure that the central investigative agencies do not go after them”.
However, Sena MP Sanjay Raut asserted that the MVA government will complete its full tenure. Maintaining that Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are committed to running the Maharashtra government for 5 years, Raut exuded confidence in the failure of all attempts to destabilise the coalition. However, speculation about rapprochement after Devendra Fadnavis recently commented, “We are not enemies. We are facing ideological differences because our friend who got elected along with us left us and held the hands of those against whom they were elected”.