Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will address party workers on the 49th anniversary conclave of the party on Friday. In his speech, Thackeray is expected to ask his cadres to be more aggressive in taking up issues which resonate with the public.
The party plans to roll out its own welfare schemes worth Rs 50 crore as part of the golden jubilee celebrations. The schemes will be partly funded by the Shiv Sena, which will pay Rs 5 crore from its coffers, and the rest will be pooled in from the development funds that MLAs get.
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“The aim of such programmes is to show that the Sena can deliver without help from the government. The political situation in the state is fluid and the party is doing all it can to show that it is different from the BJP and not overawed by it,” a senior Sena leader said. One such scheme to provide fans and bulbs that run on solar electricity was inaugurated by Thackeray in Khalapur on Thursday.
Thackeray is expected to strike a belligerent tone on Friday in an attempt to appropriate political space from its senior alliance partner in Maharashtra. The BJP and Sena are in an alliance in the state, but they share an uneasy relationship, with the Sena yet to come to terms with the loss of its status as the dominant partner in the three-decade-old alliance.
Senior Shiv Sena leaders, who are ministers in the Fadnavis government, have been complaining about being ‘steamrolled’ in the BJP-led government. Sena mouthpiece Saamana has also published editorials that were critical of the BJP.
The internal conflict within the BJP has prompted the Sena to flex its muscles, sources said. “The party will be more assertive now. There are important municipal elections around the corner and we will do all that is possible to be the voice of the people of the state,” the senior Sena leader said.
Formula for state-run corporations
Nearly six months after forming a coalition government in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and BJP have formalised a power-sharing agreement for state-run corporations. According to the deal, the corporations will be distributed in a 2:1 ratio in favour of the BJP.
“(State PWD minister) Chandrakant Patil and I held negotiations with Sena leaders Subhash and Anil Desai today. We have decided on a 66:33 sharing formula in state-run corporations. This is similar to the 2:1 pact that we have in the state ministry,” state BJP president Raosaheb Danve Patil told reporters here on Thursday.