After K’taka suc­cess, BJP has ‘watch out’ mes­sage for Sena

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

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.

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