Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has told the party core group that pressure tactics from individuals seeking tickets for Lok Sabha polls would never work.
The Sena president is upset with former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi for airing his views on matters related to the Lok Sabha election outside the party forum. Sources in the Sena said,Uddhav has made it clear that electoral merit alone will count when shortlisting candidates for Lok Sabha election. An attempt to put pressure on the party leader to change the decision will prove detrimental.
Relations between Uddhav and Joshi have not remained cordial since the 2009 elections. Joshi,who lost the elections in 2009,fears the party is trying to sideline him from the electoral process and organisational matters.
A close aide of Thackeray said,After the Ganesh festival,Joshi sought a meeting with Uddhav several times but the Sena president turned his requests down. However,after Joshi made some public remarks,Thackeray agreed to give him an audience.
Joshi feels that BMC corporator and standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale is being promoted by the leadership. He is believed to have discussed with Thackeray how Shewale is increasingly interfering in Dadar,which has been his turf for last several decades.
Sources in the Sena said Shewale was being considered for the Mumbai South Central Lok Sabha seat. In the past,Joshi had contested elections from here. The sitting MP from the seat is Congress Eknath Gaikwad.
During the 10-day Ganesh festival,local Sena leaders put up large hoardings of Shewale in Dadar and nearby areas.
A senior Sena general secretary said,Power tussle among party leaders is not a new phenomenon. For every Lok Sabha seat,there are two to four serious aspirants. It gets ugly when senior leaders take the internal battle outside the party forum.
Joshi has twice in the past expressed his desire to contest the Lok Sabha seat in 2014. He also said if he was given a ticket,would ensure that MNS did not field any candidate. Thackeray is not pleased with the logic and has held a series of meetings with local leaders representing Mumbai South Central to ascertain the ground reality.
Insiders said,Top leadership of Sena has decided not to react to Joshi as any adverse comment could be used to further trigger differences and tarnish the partys image.