BJP party leaders have downplayed the party president Amit Shah’s recent statements where he mentioned that the party should strengthen itself and win the forthcoming assembly election by wiping out Shiv Sena. On the other hand, many leaders from Shiv Sena refused to comment about this issue. Shah’s remarks had created furore among the Sena-BJP alliance as both parties has been eyeing the Chief Ministerial post. Ever since the BJP had performed well in the Lok Sabha election by winning 23 seats the saffron party has been seeking more seats.
Shiv Sena has always played a dominant role in the state and has been contesting 171 seats while BJP had contested 117 seats in 2009. This time, BJP has been bargaining for more seats and wants to contest 130 seats. However, Sena is keen to follow the 2009 formula and is reluctant to offer more seats to BJP. Both the parties are yet to arrive at a consensus over the seat sharing issue.
When AV spoke to Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam about the statement issued by Amit Shah he refused to comment about it. He said, “I don’t want to comment over this issue.”
BJP MP Gopal Shetty said the party has a pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena and both the parties will contest election together. He said, “Amit Shah never issued anti-Shiv Sena statements. A party president wants his party to emerge victorious in the election. He never targeted anybody. We are having a tie-up with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and both the parties will contest election together.”
BJP spokesperson Shaina NC emphasised about the need to strengthen the party. She said, “As a party president Amit Shah wanted BJP to become strong instead of relying on allies for victory. Alliances will continue but BJP as a party should emerge stronger.”
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said, “He never made any statements about this issue. I don’t want to comment further.”
Prakash Surve who had recently joined Shiv Sena defended Amit Shah and said, “No Amitji never said issued such statements and was speaking in favour of the BJP. End of the day everybody wants his or her party to excel in election. Let’s see which party wins how many seats in the upcoming assembly election.”
Former South Mumbai MP from BJP Jaywantiben Mehta said, “We are having an alliance with Shiv Sena and he only has made positive statements about Shiv Sena. People have misinterpreted the statements made by him. Mr Shah was motivating party members to work hard instead of being dependent on the Modi wave.”
A Shiv Sena leader spoke to us on the condition of anonymity said, “Nobody can ever wipe out Shiv Sena from Maharashtra. People have a tendency to write off Sena prior to election but we always bounce back strongly. Our party is performing well under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray and Aditya Thackeray and we have full faith in them.”
When we asked about his take on the Sena-BJP alliance he refused to comment about it and said that Uddhav Thackeray has instructed party workers to refrain from commenting about the alliance.