After K’taka success, BJP has ‘watch out’ message for Sena
Mumbai: Flush with victory in Karnataka, the BJP may be all set to cut the Shiv Sena to size ahead of the general elections, according to a senior functionary of the Maharashtra BJP on Thursday.
“CM Devendra Fadnavis has been trying to mollify the Sena since the two parties sealed a partnership in the state in 2014. However, now that we have won the Karnataka polls our central leadership may ask Devendraji to tighten the screws on the Sena,” said the functionary. “The Karnataka victory is proof, if Sena insists on one, that the BJP has struck roots deep across India,” he said.
Stating that the Sena’s decision to contest the Lok Sabha byelection in Palghar, a BJP citadel for over two decades, has angered the CM, the BJP functionary said, “The CM too is disgusted with the Sena’s now-on, now-off style of functioning. Uddhav Thackeray doesn’t realise that barring Fad- navis, he has not a single well-wisher in the state BJP. The Sena is shooting itself in the foot by antagonising the CM.”
The Palghar Lok Sabha seat was held by BJP veteran Chintamani Wanga. His death early this year has caused a by-election in the Adivasi-dominated constituency. The Sena offered nomination to Shriniwas Wanga, the late MP’s son, after the Wanga family met Thackeray at his Bandra residence and formally joined the party. After talks with Thackeray, the Wangas accused BJP of showing no empathy for the family.
A livid Fadnavis spoke informally to a senior Sena minister recently and told him in no uncertain terms that Thackeray has violated the alliance ‘dharma’ by poaching on the Wanga family and by fielding a Sena nominee in a BJP constituency. He asked the Sena minister to convey his displeasure to Thackeray, it is learnt.
Nevertheless, Thackeray seems unrepentant. While commenting on the Karnataka poll results, Thackeray remarked caustically that the BJP may be on a winning spree, but the party suffers from bad luck when it comes to annexing a bypoll, the reference, obviously, being to the Palghar LS by-election.
Moreover, the Sena has made matters difficult for the Fadnavis regime by opposing the refinery project in Nanar. Uddhav toured Nanar last month and announced at a public meeting there that the project stood cancelled.
The Sena has also opposed the Fadnavis government’s latest decision to open up Mumbai’s salt pan land for affordable housing.
“Buoyed by the Karnataka victory, the BJP may come down heavily on the Sena. We have won 104 seats in Karnataka on our own strength,” said a BJP MP.