After its public spat with Shiv Sena, the BJP steered clear of discussing about ties with the saffron ally at a meeting of party legislators and functionaries where it chose “only” to deliberate upon the achievements of the Fadnavis government over the last year.
Several top BJP leaders had said ahead of the meeting yesterday that the worsening relations with the Sena, which is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, were likely to come up for discussion.
A senior leader had gone to the extent of saying that the meeting would discuss the probability of snapping ties with the Sena, which had on Tuesday said BJP was free to opt out of the coalition if it was bored of its brand of “nationalism” and “patriotism”, raising questions about the continuance of the party in the state government.
However, no such thing happened and BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari said, “The meeting was only held to discuss various achievements of the state government and how do we put them in front of the people. There was no mention of the Shiv Sena anywhere in the meeting.”
“Last year we won elections on October 19 and took oath on the 31st. Hence, we have decided to hold various programmes from October 19 to 31 wherein we will interact with people and tell them what the government has done,” he said.
Relations between the two saffron allies have come under renewed strain after Shiv Sainiks blackened the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former BJP strategist and organiser of Pakistan’s former foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch event on Monday.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had voiced serious displeasure over the incident and said the state would not be allowed to be reduced to a “banana republic”.
Amid the growing unease in their ties, Shiv Sena had, in a snide remark yesterday, sought to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his Godhra past after he termed as “unfortunate” the Dadri lynching incident and cancellation of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai following Shiv Sena’s threat of disrupting it.