The Shiv Sena on Saturday castigated the BJP for the treatment meted out to L K Advani, and warned that the attempts to humiliate the veteran leader could have serious ramifications for the party.
Later in the day, BJP president Rajnath Singh spoke to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, but no details of the conversation were immediately available.
“The bond of the people with a senior leader like Advani is still intact. In view of the tumult in the country’s politics today, the Advani incident can seem very minor; however, it can have serious ramifications. People should realise that it does not make sense to be wiser after an accident has occurred,” said an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna.
“There should not have been a problem in announcing a senior leader like Advaniji’s candidature in the first list of candidates. However, this did not happen. Someone who has nurtured the party and shown it days of glory was kept hanging till the last moment,” the editorial said.
“Why should there be such a delay in deciding on Advani’s nomination? Doing this is like humiliating him.
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“The Modi era may have started in the BJP, but the Advani era has still not ended in the country’s politics,” the editorial said.
The Sena has been upset with attempts by senior BJP leaders like Nitin Gadkari to rope in Raj Thackeray’s MNS as a possible ally. The context of Saturday’s editorial was the fait accompli presented to Advani with regard to his contesting the Gandhinagar seat.
BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said in Delhi that his party and the Sena were like family. “BJP president Rajnath Singh spoke to Uddhav Thackeray today,” Trivedi said, but did not reveal the contents of the telephonic discussion.
Sources said the two leaders discussed the issue of the Sena contesting outside Maharashtra. “Thackeray has clarified that this move was not against the BJP, and indicated that it would be calibrated so as to not harm the alliance partner,” confided a source who had been briefed about the conversation.