Speculations are rife in political circles that Shiv Sena might withdraw support to BJP after Dussehra. Of late, the relation between Sena and BJP have strained as the party has often attacked the functioning of its senior ally through its mouthpiece Saamna. If Sena snaps ties with BJP then 20 MLAs from the party might join BJP. Independent MLA Ravi Rana said that even if Sena sever ties with BJP the party will remain unaffected with it. Rana added that Sena may have to pay heavy price if it breaks alliance with BJP. He said that BJP might welcome Narayan Rane who had recently quit Congress.
Shiv Sena is also opposed to Rane’s induction into BJP. If Rane joins BJP then he might be offered a ministerial berth which is unacceptable to Sena. Shiv Sena spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut had earlier hinted that the party will soon take a decision whether to withdraw support to the government. He added that citizens are already fed up with the BJP government for its failure to control inflation and fuel prices.
Gopal Shetty, BJP MP said, “Anything can happen in politics as we can’t comment about it right now. Let’s see whether Sena will withdraw support. Earlier Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had criticised BJP’s policies but now he has joined hands with the party. What problem is Sena facing as it is already an ally of BJP?.”
Deepak Kesarkar, Shiv Sena leader said, “Nobody is switching their loyalties towards BJP. Shiv Sena MLAs have immense respect for Uddhav Thackeray and the party. These rumours are just their tantrums to gain attention of the supremo. Once party workers gain attention they stay back with the party and this is what has been happening since last few years. I think these are speculations and nothing can be said right away.”
When we spoke to Maharashtra environment minister Ramdas Kadam he remained unavailable for comment.
Shiv Sena and BJP have been at loggerheads since the Thackeray-led party failed to get some plum portfolios it aspired for. With BJP increasing its foothold in Maharashtra, the Sena fears to lose the position of being the dominant partner in the state. The party also attacked BJP for its failure to address the hardships faced by farmers due to crop failure and rising debt.