DEFENDING THE ink attack on former BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said “people like him (Kulkarni) will cause more harm than a hundred Kasabs”, referring to 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab. The party also sharpened its attack on CM Devendra Fadnavis and called him “pro-Pakistan”, while daring the BJP to opt out of the government.
“The CM says that Shiv Sena’s protest brought disrepute to the state. We feel that the CM does not feel the pulse of Maharashtra. In fact, his pro-Pakistan act has brought disrepute,” said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. He dared the BJP to pull the plug on the alliance if it did not agree with the Shiv Sena’s “patriotic stand”.
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“This government is not of the BJP alone. If they wanted to make it only theirs, they should have done that. Shiv Sena is a nationalist party. If our nationalism is pinching them, they should resign from this government. The government should have stepped in and banned this programme (former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch). It would have made this state proud,” said Raut.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, however, is yet to speak on the issue. He is likely to spell out his stand during the party’s annual Dussehra rally. Despite the bluster, the Sena seems unwilling to walk out of the alliance now. Sources said the party is likely to time the split, if any, closer to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, which is about 16 months away.
“It is a fact that the BJP is giving us the cold shoulder even though we are supporting their government. Uddhav Saheb was deliberately kept away by the BJP from the bhoomipujan function. However the final call rests with Uddhav Thackeray,” said senior Sena leader and state minister Ramdas Kadam.
Meanwhile, Sena candidates on Tuesday filed nominations for all 122 seats in Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) polls. The elections will be held on November 1. The Sena and BJP decided to contest the KDMC polls separately following differences over seat sharing, thus paving the way for a multi-cornered contest in the local bodies where Congress and NCP have also failed to forge an alliance.
The BJP has forged alliances with smaller groups in KDMC. The KDMC is ruled by the Sena-BJP alliance. In the last civic elections, the Sena had emerged as the leading party winning 31 seats, whereas the BJP won nine. The Congress won 15 seats, NCP 15 and Independents 21.