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Another blow for BJP-Sena ties

An internal feud already raging over selection of candidates for the Pune Lok Sabha seat,the city BJP unit is now staring at the widening gulf with alliance partner Shiv Sena,on whom it is counting for support during the Lok Sabha polls.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
January 28, 2009 11:49:26 pm

After border row,Sena leader’s statement on supporting Pawar widens saffron gulf

An internal feud already raging over selection of candidates for the Pune Lok Sabha seat,the city BJP unit is now staring at the widening gulf with alliance partner Shiv Sena,on whom it is counting for support during the Lok Sabha polls.

Relations between the two parties,already warring over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row,further soured following a Sena leader’s comment last week.

While BJP leader LK Advani is being projected as the saffron parties’ choice as prime ministerial candidate,the leader had said that Sena would support NCP chief Sharad Pawar as the prime ministerial candidate.

“The Sena leader’s statement has not done any good to the already strained relations between the two parties,” Ujjwal Keskar,BJP spokesperson for Western Maharashtra,said. He said the Sena was unnecessarily creating confusion among the public and members of both the parties.

In Pune district,the BJP is getting ready to contest the Pune and Baramati Lok Sabha seats while the Shiv Sena is gearing up for the adjoining Shirur Lok Sabha seat. “The confusion among party workers will hurt both the parties,” Keskar said.

He added that the BJP parliamentary party had decided to project L K Advani,who got the green signal from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners at a recent meeting,as their prime ministerial candidate.

On party general secretary Gopinath Munde’s comment that the Sena statement on backing Pawar was deplorable,Keskar said,“It has been made amply clear that the alliance can be only with parties that accept Advani as the alliance leader.”

Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said,“BJP leaders should not worry about the Sena stand on supporting the NCP chief. The party stand will be cleared by the Sena supremo on the issue whenever required.” She said the workers of both the parties should rather concentrate on the Lok Sabha polls and leave senior party leaders to sort out the matter.

The city BJP unit is already witnessing bickering,with one group led by state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and another by Munde,over the ticket for the Pune Lok Sabha seat. The Gadkari-faction is pushing for Vikas Mathkari while the other faction is supporting Munde-confidant Anil Shirole. Supporters of the two factions had clashed during the 2007 civic polls.

The differences have become a cause for concern for the city BJP unit. “The Sena needs to actively campaign for the BJP candidate. The tension between the two parties will affect poll performance,” a local BJP leader said.

The party is already looking for external support from NCP for getting the BJP candidate elected from Pune seat,he said,adding that the differences would benefit the Congress candidate.

The Congress is closely watching the Sena-BJP rift. A Congress leader said,“The Sena and BJP had joined hands with the NCP to keep the Congress away from power in the Pune Municipal Corporation. The same alliance is now fighting over supporting NCP chief Sharad Pawar for the post of prime minister after the elections.”

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