Amid suspense over the continuation of its alliance with the BJP, the Shiv Sena on Monday held a meeting of its MPs and state legislators in Maharashtra. Talking to media after the meeting, Sena leader Sanjay Raut asserted that his party is the big brother in the NDA alliance in Maharashtra.
“We are the big brother in Maharashtra, we were the big brother and will stay the big brother,” Raut said after the meeting where a wide range of issues including the Rafale deal and Maharashtra drought were discussed.
Raut said that the party demands the centre to raise the income tax slab to Rs 8 lakh in line with 10 per cent reservation for EWS of General category in the upcoming interim budget.
“We discussed Rafale, issue of drought in Maharashtra. Udhav Thackrey Ji said on the 10% EWS quota to General Category that people with annual income of 8 lakh must be exempted from paying Income Tax. Since you have labelled them poor, they must be exempted,” Raut was quoted as saying by ANI.
The BJP and Shiv Sena have been at loggerheads over past one year with the Uddhav Thackeray led party criticising the centre on several issues. In recent months, Uddhav has also praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
However, as the Lok Sabha elections come closer, the party is yet to take a decision over future alliance with the BJP. In the 2014 elections, the BJP and the Shiv Sena had contested the Parliamentary elections together and won 41 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The Sena had won 18 of the 20 seats it contested.
BJP leaders like state party president Raosaheb Danve and minister Chandrakant Patil have been talking about a possible pre-poll alliance with the Sena. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said there has been no open communication with the Sena, but through backdoors, they have been holding talks.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena targetted the BJP led government over conferring Bharat Ratna to Bhupen Hazarika. The party said that the highest civilian award has been conferred on veteran artiste late Bhupen Hazarika only with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, which is a “wrong” thing.