Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders fanned out across the country on Tuesday to hardsell the Narendra Modi government’s achievements in its first year in office, oldest ally Shiv Sena remained silent on the performance of the NDA regime.
Though there was no official word from the Sena leadership, the party apparently feels the anniversary celebrations are a BJP affair.
A Sena MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said BJP has never consulted his party on crucial issues like the Jaitapur nuclear power project, land bill, GST Bill and other important matters.
“It has all been about the BJP in the last one year. They have followed a dictatorial attitude and they expect their allies to blindly follow the decisions,” the Sena MP said.
Though a long-time ally of the BJP and partner in Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis as well as at the Centre, Sena has often been critical of the policies of both the state and the Union Government.
Their partnership has been marked by severe strain after the two saffron parties parted ways and fought each other in last year’s assembly polls in Maharashtra although political compulsions soon made Sena to join the ministry.
According to political observers, Sena and BJP entered into a ‘marriage of convienence’ as both the parties had been out of power for 15 years in Maharashtra and could not risk losing control over cash-rich the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), whose annual budget is about Rs 35,000 crore.
However, despite sharing power, they have often been at loggerheads, especially Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana coming out with stinging editorials targetting BJP, sparing not even Modi.
The strains in the relationship were visible right from the start with Sena failing to get the portfolios of its choice as BJP asserted its supremacy.
Since then, Sena has been openly critcising the BJP-led dispensation over a host of issues ranging from farmers’ suicide to Jaitapur nuclear power plant.