Increasing its stridency, the Sena recently forced cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s event in the city and later opposed the book launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. In the name of nationalism, Sena has gone harsh on Pakistani singers, writers and actors but surprisingly BJP is supporting them much more dedicatedly. BJP and Sena, ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra, are at loggerheads with each other over several issues including sports and cultural ties with Pakistan. He alleged the party (BJP) had done nothing for Kalyan Dombivili towns and claimed it was Sena that has done a lot for these towns. Sena activists blackened the face of the event organizer, Sudheendra Kulkarni, causing much embarrassment to BJP and triggering widespread protests across the country. Though, the BJP has refrained from openly reacting to the ally’s aggressive posturing, state party functionaries, requesting anonymity, said the government would continue even if the Sena pulls out of it. Political observers, however, say BJP has failed to control Sena’s capacity to create “nuisance repeatedly”. May be that’s the reason, Fadnavis was very upfront in commenting that they will not hesitate to put behind bars even somebody from our party or our friends ( Shiv Sena) who breaks law.
The disconnect between the allies, both wedded to Hindutva ideology, further widened when Sena ‘boycotted’ all functions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on October 11. Shiv Sena is its natural ally and BJP needs to carry along so that the government completes its tenure. If Sena withdraws support, BJP can take NCP support, but will lose its credibility. Tackling Shiv Sena, maintaining social harmony and strengthening social fabric in the state is a challenge for BJP for the rest of its tenure but discounted the chances of it quitting the government any time soon. If the Sena emerges as the single largest party in the upcoming Kalyan-Dombivali municipal polls, it will get an upper hand to pressurise the BJP. If BJP gives in to the Sena during the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election (to be held in 2017) to ensure stability of the government, it would be Sena’s victory.
Uddhav asked Shiv Sainiks to project work done by Sena and seek mandate of voters for it to return to power in the civic body. Making a reference to the reported ‘havan’ being carried out by BJP in Dombivili for its victory, he said Shiv Sena never needs any such act or never approaches ‘mantrik’ or ‘tantric’ (faith healers) for such things. If Modi installs a huge memorial of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in Gujarat, then what is wrong if Sena install the memorial for Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) and Tilak (Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak) here (in the state)?” he said. He asked the Sainiks not to answer the criticisms of others and instead project good work done by it. Voting for Kalyan-Dombivili in Thane district will take place on November 1.
On the other hand, BJP always believed in talking, but it has done nothing on allegations against education minister Vinod Tawde whose educational qualifications came under cloud and the purchases made by his department without inviting tenders, and the ‘chikki scam’ involving Women and Child development minister Pankaja Munde. Days after the Shiv Sena forced the cancellation of Pakistani artist Ghulam Ali’s concert, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government will ensure full-proof security to the ghazal maestro if he still wishes to perform in the city.
In a veiled attack at the Sena, Fadnavis said it is wrong to relate Ghulam Ali to any religion or a country, as he is an artist. Fadnavis further said the state government’s decision to provide security for former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri’s book launch should not be seen as endorsing his views.
Devendra Fadnavis government will complete a year in office this week, the partnership between BJP and its oldest ideological ally Shiv Sena is at an all-time low, raising a question mark over the political stability of the regime. The unfolding scenario has thrown up doubts in the minds of people whether the government will be able to complete its tenure, say political observers. The Sena, after severing ties with BJP on the eve of assembly polls, joined the government in December last year and since then has relentlessly been attacking the policies and approaches of the ministry through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on various issues. Right now, Sena and BJP both are engaged in commenting on each other leaving the partnership aside. May be, they both are trying to be single largest party in the state for future.