Rahul Shewale, who was appointed the Shiv Sena leader in the Lok Sabha by the Eknath Shinde-led group, claimed on Tuesday that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was himself keen on patching up with the BJP soon after the MVA government was formed in Maharashtra.
Speaking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Shewale claimed that the patch-up did not occur due to the antagonistic stand taken by certain members of the Sena against the BJP and Thackeray’s procrastination.
“Uddhav Thackeray, during an interaction with Shiv Sena MPs, had told us that he was keen on an alliance with the BJP. He said he had discussed the issue of alliance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he had gone to meet in 2021,” he said.
“The meeting had taken place last June and there was an Assembly session in July. During the session, 12 BJP MLAs were suspended. Senior BJP leaders had then become upset, as they felt that ‘on the one hand, we are talking about alliance, but on the other hand, they are suspending our MLAs’,” Shewale added.
On July 5, 12 BJP MLAs were suspended from the House for one year for allegedly abusing and manhandling the “Speaker in chair” Bhaskar Jadhav. He further said that BJP leaders were also upset, as there was no outcome of their discussion with Thackeray.
Shewale said, “Several times, Uddhav Thackeray discussed the alliance (with BJP leaders). But there was no positive response to the BJP from Sena. Due to this, BJP leaders also got upset… Uddhav Thackeray himself told us all these things. He told us that ‘I have tried my best, now you also try’.”
“We MPs held four to five meetings with Thackeray and kept insisting that the party should form an alliance with the BJP. However, every time, Thackeray would tell us that he is ready but is not getting a good response (from the BJP).”
Shewale also blamed Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut for the strain between the BJP and the Sena. “On one hand, attempts were being made for the alliance, and on the other hand, Raut was holding meetings with MVA leaders and supporting UPA’s Vice-President and President candidates.”
When contacted, Raut, however said Shewale’s claims were false. “Uddhavji shares everything with us and I don’t know where this came from,” he said.