Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has asked party MPs to focus on their constituencies and take up strongly farmers’ problems while leaving the issue of alliance with the BJP to him.
Shiv Sena’s commitment is to the people of the state, Thackeray’s close aide Harshal Pradhan said on Tuesday quoting the party chief.
Thackeray had met Sena MPs and MLAs at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra on Monday.
“The Sena will fight this election with all its strength. All the sitting MPs should focus on issues related to their constituencies and if they don’t feel confident of winning again, they should make way for others,” Pradhan said quoting Thackeray.
“The issue of alliance with the BJP should be left to me,” he quoted the Sena president as saying.
He said that Thackeray asked the MPs to work on the ground and review the crop insurance payments and waiver of loans to farmers.
Pradhan also said that Thackeray has not received any communication from the BJP about discussion on alliance prospects.
“Last year, BJP president Amit Shah visited Matoshree to meet Uddhavji and decided to keep in touch. However, after that there has been no communication from the BJP,” he added.
The Sena had last year announced to go solo in future elections.
The party had on Monday said it would always be the “big brother” in an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra.
Till 2014, the BJP and Sena, allies for long, used to have an understanding under which the former would contest a larger share of Lok Sabha seats and the latter would get a greater number of Maharashtra Assembly seats to fight.
In this way, both parties took the role of elder and younger sibling in the general and state polls in their political ‘brotherhood’.
The 2014 Assembly polls, however, ended this ‘sibling’ agreement as the BJP, on the back of a strong ‘Narendra Modi wave’ and contesting alone, won 122 seats against the Sena’s 63 in Maharashtra.
The BJP went on to form a government in the state under Devendra Fadnavis and the Sena had to contend being the junior partner.