NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose efforts at mending fences with the Congress in Maharashtra have failed to find a response, has of late been predicting a split of the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition. On Monday, he said the split would come ahead of Mumbai’s municipal elections and claimed he dgot this indication from within the coalition itself.
“The BJP and the Shiv Sena are likely to part ways ahead of the 2017 BMC polls. This prediction is being made within the ruling Sena,” Pawar said in Aurangabad Monday. “Some members from the ruling party themselves have come and told me the Sena-BJP alliance will not last beyond the BMC polls.”
Shiv Sena leaders dismissed it as “Pawar’s old habit of fomenting problems in other parties”. One Sena leader told The Indian Express, “Uddhav Thackeray has made a statement that Pawar’s predictions are the outcome of losing power at the Centre and in the state. We give no importance to such predictions.”
State BJP chief Raosaheb Danve too was dismissive of the prediction. “The Sena-BJP alliance is working very well. There are no problems at all. The Sena and the BJP also contested in alliance in the recent civic polls,” he said.
Pawar had mentioned a possible split last month too. Sena and BJP leaders, in turn, have asked why the NCP should be so concerned about the fate of the coalition government instead of setting the NCP house in order.
Pawar’s latest statement comes after he and state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare expressed a willingness to work together with the Congress as a united opposition, only to be snubbed. State Congress president Ashok Chavan told The Indian Express, “ I find the NCP’s overall politics very confusing. I am not sure which way they are going. One day Praful Patel declares support to the BJP in the name of stability. The following day, they boast about cordial relations between Pawar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
He agreed, though, that the coalition is facing problems. “While the problems between the Sena and the BJP problems cannot be ignored, the Congress is working at strengthening itself on its own.”
Tatkare insisted, “We believe like-minded parties should work together.”