Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis slammed Shiv Sena Tuesday saying Uddhav Thackeray had realised the sand under his feet was slipping in Mumbai. “Not surprisingly, Thackeray is scouting for refuge in Hardik Patel from Gujarat,” said a BJP leader.
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Ahead of the crucial BMC elections, Fadnavis and Thackeray are increasing getting into a bitter war of words. In the last 48 hours, Thackeray has at least four public meetings in Mumbai and suburbs, trained guns on Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The Sena cannot be cowed down. You can get Modi to fight the Sena in Mumbai. We will still win,” he said in his latest attack.
In a sharp retort, Fadnavis said, “Modiji door ki baat hain. Pahele Devendra Fadnavis se to nipto.” Translated, this means, “Modi is a far cry. Deal with Devendra Fadnavis first.”
According to BJP poll managers the PM is unlikely to campaign for the BMC elections. The party has, however, ensured the use of Modi’s face in all its important events related to elections.
Insiders in the BJP said the Sena’s decision to get Hardik Patel would not impact its Gujarati vote base, claiming that Modi as well as Fadnavis still enjoyed goodwill among them.
BJP MP Kirit Somiayya, a Gujarati, said, “How can Patel who failed in Gujarat click in Mumbai. Can there be any comparison between Modiji and Patel (Hardik)?”
Several BJP leaders described the developments as Sena’s desperation to wreck BJP’s strong vote base. The Sena is also worried that the MNS decision to field 200 candidates could work against them in some pockets even if they get 1,000 to 3,000 votes in key Marathi-dominated constituencies.
The CM’s aggression is part of the BJP’s strategy not to buckle under Sena’s pressure. The party has planned 10 public rallies to be addressed by Fadnavis across Mumbai and its suburbs. On Thursday, Fadnavis will hold his first rally at Mulund and the second at Jogeshwari.