Ahead of the forthcoming civic polls, the top BJP leadership seems to be in no mood to engage in a spat with alliance partner Shiv Sena with Union minister Venkaiah Naidu urging leaders and workers of both parties to maintain restrain.
“The Shiv Sena is the oldest alliance partner of the BJP and existed from the days of late Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. Thus, party leaders and workers should maintain restrain instead of criticising each other,” Naidu said after inaugurating the two-day state BJP executive committee meeting.
There are differences of opinion in every household, Naidu said, adding, “The issues between the BJP and Shiv Sena are of similar kind. They should be resolved through dialogue among themselves. Party leaders and cadres of both BJP and Shiv Sena should not come out in public against each other.”
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In the recent past, BJP and Sena leaders at the state and local levels have been taking on each other. The seeds of the differences within the two parties were sown during the Assembly elections after they broke the pre-poll alliance to contest independently. However, the two parties came together to keep the Congress and NCP out of power, but had not been in good terms despite sharing power in the state and at the Centre.
The Union minister said that the BJP is the largest political party in the world with the highest number of members. “The BJP has the maximum number of MPs from OBC, SC, ST and women categories. We don’t have the maximum number of MPs from the minority community, but that would change slowly,” he said.
Naidu said that in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, no other party but the BJP got Muslims elected in the 57 seats where elections were held. The BJP elected Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and MJ Akbar to the Rajya Sabha.
The Union minister also took a dig at the Congress for making allegations of corruption against the NDA ministers. “The Congress is shameless as they talk of corruption. They have been doing corruption for the last 50 years,” he said, adding that the Congress is yet to come to terms with is defeat and accept public mandate.
Naidu said that the BJP has been increasing its strength rapidly with the party ruling 46 per cent of the geographical area of the country and 36 per cent of the population, while the Congress is left in power in only 6 per cent of the geographical area of the country. He added that the Congress is a sinking ship and is facing exodus with party leaders leaving the party.
“Sharad Pawar is a smart leader who foresaw the situation of the Congress and walked out. Ajit Jogi and Gurudas Kamat who have been associated with the Congress till recently have also quit as they don’t see any leadership in the Congress,” the Union minister added.
Naidu said that the Opposition is unnecessary raising the issue of intolerance by pointing out stray incidents. “The country has the maximum tolerance in the world. The Opposition is doing false campaign against the Union government over stray incidents,” he said, adding that those returning their awards citing intolerance are very few.
Earlier, Naidu released a book titled ‘Lokmanyanchi Sinhgarjana’ to mark 100 years of the slogan ‘Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it’ by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. At the event in Kesariwada, he said that the country got freedom due to the contribution of Tilak, Vinayak Savarkar, Madan Mohan Malviya, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Subhash Chandra Bose.
“The life of freedom fighters should be an inspiration to the present generation, and therefore, I have discussed their inclusion in school textbooks with Union human resource minister Smriti Irani,” Naidu added.