EVEN as the Shiv Sena made it clear that it will not have any truck with the BJP in the Lok Sabha election later this year, the party has been sending feelers to the NCP and the Congress, said sources. But neither of the parties seem to be keen to take the Sena on board.
Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut, considered the right hand man of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, said, “Our national executive meeting had passed a resolution to go solo in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. We are committed to living up to the resolution.”
Raut, who was responding to Thackeray’s recent comments during his Pandharpur rally, said the resolution makes it clear that there will be no pre-poll alliance. At the rally, Thackeray had discounted the possibility of a pre-poll alliance, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had responded by saying that he would comment on the issue at an appropriate time.
While the Sena is not ready for an alliance with the BJP and has been attacking its alliance partner, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it seems that the party is not averse to a tie-up with the Congress and the NCP, parties with which it has major ideological differences.
On Tuesday, senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, who is a minister in the Fadnavis-led state government, said his party had sought help from the NCP and the Congress for the mayoral elections in Ahmednagar. “We had sought help from both the Congress and NCP. I had spoken to NCP leader Ajit Pawar and Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil,” Kadam told reporters in Mumbai.
Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said she was aware of Kadam’s statement, but refused to comment on it. NCP spokesperson Nawab Mallik, however, said there was no question of joining hands with the Sena. “Whether the BJP and Shiv Sena contest together or not, it is not our concern. The NCP and Congress will contest the election together. We will not have the Sena on board,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said party leader Vikhe-Patil has clarified that the Congress will not join hands with the Sena. “We differ ideologically, therefore we cannot join hands with the Sena,” he said. While the Sena has sharpened its attacks on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Saamana, the party mouthpiece, has been praising Congress president Rahul Gandhi in its editorials and on its front pages.
The Sena didn’t seem to mind entering an alliance with the Congress and NCP at the local level, said political analyst Abhay Deshpande. “At the same time, the way it is going about slamming the BJP, it is clear the Sena will not have any pre-poll alliance with the BJP, neither in the Lok Sabha polls nor in the assembly elections,” he said.
Pointing out the contradictions in the alliance in Ahmednagar, Deshpande said, “Sena’s local leadership refused to have any truck with the NCP, while the state leadership says it was trying to take help from both the NCP and Congress. It could be that the Sena wanted to expose the NCP’s dual policy of trying to tie up with the Congress and also helping BJP,” he said.
Deshpande said NCP’s show-cause notice to its rebel corporators seemed to be a ploy to ward off criticism of the party. “The rebel corporators have defied the party. Why issue show-cause notices… there should have been some action instantly. NCP seems to be playing its own games,” said the analyst.