The Shiv Sena appears to be in no mood to back off in its ongoing face-off with the BJP, insisting that it will install its own mayor in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
At a meeting of newly-elected Shiv Sena corporators on Saturday night, the party also warned its cadre against defecting to the BJP. Leader after leader struck an aggressive posture against the BJP, with senior leaders such as Ramdas Kadam claiming that the Sena will show the BJP its “aukat” (the limits of its capability).
The Sena leadership seems to have decided against making any conciliatory overtures to the BJP for now. The move comes in the backdrop of discussions by the party leadership that such a move could be seen as a sign of weakness and harm the party in the long run.
The party has also decided not to respond to the statement of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who had said it was time the two parties came together.
When asked by reporters what he felt about Gadkari’s statement, all Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said was “Jay Maharashtra” . Meanwhile, senior Sena leader Anil Parab said a Sena mayor would be at the helm of the BMC, and the BJP should have realised it was better to stick with its alliance partner before the elections.
‘’I would not want to comment on what Gadkariji said, but the BJP should have had this realisation earlier. As of now, the alliance remains broken,” said Parab.
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Taking a more aggressive stand, senior Sena leader and Minister of Environment in the Maharashtra government Ramdas Kadam said the party would show the BJP its “real worth” in the next few days.
‘’The Chief Minister and other individuals around him, who believe themselves to be leaders, should pay heed to what Gadkariji is saying. The Sena will make its stand clear soon… but we will show the BJP its real worth in the next few days,” said Kadam.
On Saturday evening, the Sena leadership also met the 84 newly-elected corporators in Mumbai, at the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Shivaji Park. Four Independent corporators, who have assured the Sena of their support, were also present at the meeting.
Sena leaders claimed that the meeting was held to brief corporators about the technicalities they need to complete before they get sworn in as members of the BMC. However, these corproators were also warned against defecting from the Sena.
In a closed-door meeting with the corporators, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is said to have told them, “The Sena will definitely install its own mayor in the BMC. However, I would also warn you that I will not tolerate dissension or take kindly to those who betray the party”.
The Sena sees its present struggle as a fight for its survival; many young leaders feel that acceding space to the BJP at this moment could cause immense harm to the party.