Shiv Sena and BJP inching closer? A quick take
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 8
- Thackeray met with PM Modi to discuss the Maratha quota
- Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut praised PM Modi, saying BJP has been in power because of Modi
The talk of former allies Shiv Sena and BJP coming together in Maharashtra is doing the rounds ever since Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sena leader Sanjay Raut praised the PM. This, coupled with the Congress saying that the alliance was not forever, has set off speculation that there were tremors in the state government.
Three adversaries -- the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress -- came together in November 2019 to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government after Uddhav Thackeray-led party fell out with the BJP after the Maharashtra Assembly polls over power-sharing formula.
How it all began
It all started with Thackeray's meeting with PM Modi ostensibly to discuss the Maratha quota, struck down by the Supreme Court recently.
Thackeray also had a 10-minute separate meeting with the PM. On this meeting, Thackeray said: "We may not be politically together but that doesn't mean our relationship has broken. I didn't go to meet Nawaz Sharif. So if I meet him (PM) separately in person, there is nothing wrong with it."
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut followed this up by praising the Prime Minister. Raut said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the top leader of the country and his party. BJP has been in power for the last seven years because of Narendra Modi.”
Shiv Sena MLA Prateep Sarnaik added another layer to the buzz urging his party to ally with the BJP again just to save its leaders from being 'harassed by central investigation agencies'.
"It is better to join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again as Shiv Sainiks feel that would save the Sena leaders...from problems," he said in a letter to Uddhav Thackeray.
The Congress angle
Congress state unit chief Nana Patole added fuel to fire by saying that the three-party MVA alliance was formed in Maharashtra for five years and it is not a permanent fixture. He said that the Congress has taken the decision to contest the elections independently.
CM Thackeray hit back saying that people would "beat with footwear" those who only talk about contesting polls alone without offering solutions to people's problems.
Not the first time
Earlier this month, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s statement that the state’s three ruling parties will fight polls together did not go down too well with the Congress. The Maharashtra Congress said that it will go alone in all future elections in Maharashtra and that they should not be taken for granted.