FORMER CHIEF minister and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane on Tuesday signalled the first sign of a revolt after the BJP inked a pre-poll pact with its ally Shiv Sena.
A known critic of Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Rane declared that his party — Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksha — will field candidates in all the seats that the Sena would contest in the Lok Sabha elections. “My party’s candidates will ensure that the Shiv Sena does not win,” he said.
Rane used a popular Marathi phrase to describe the coming together of the two warring allies. “Tujhe majhe jamane, tujyashivay karmena (They can’t get along, but can’t survive without each other either).”
Firing a barb at Uddhav, Rane said the alliance pact was “for the personal benefit of Matoshri”. Matoshri is the official residence of the Thackeray family. He also said that the Sena cannot be trusted as a party that can “walk the talk”.
Distancing himself from the BJP, Rane said he was “not a primary member of the BJP”. He added that he had floated his party (in October, 2017) owing to BJP’s insistence to do so.
As Opposition and social media activists took potshots at BJP and Sena over their past posturing against each other, NCP president Sharad Pawar also took a sharp dig at the two parties.
“The alliance was never in doubt. It was a foregone conclusion,” he said. While pointing to the ugly war of words exchanged between leaders of the two parties in the run-up to the announcement of the alliance, Pawar said that the “voters won’t be fooled and would teach the parties a lesson”.
Pawar, speaking to mediapersons in Pune, also declared that his nephew Ajit Pawar’s son Parth won’t contest Lok Sabha polls on a NCP ticket. Parth was being seen as a frontrunner to contest from Maval in western Maharashtra, and had even begun campaigning there. But following Pawar’s decision to contest from Solapur’s Madha seat, and daughter Supriya Sule certain to bid for re-election from the Pawar pocketborough of Baramati, the NCP leadership has decided against fielding a third person from the family.
Pawar, meanwhile, took a sharp dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the aftermath of the killings of the CRPF personnel in the Pulwama attack.
“Two days after the attack, the Centre convened an all-party meeting. Being a national party, all of us left behind our work and reached Delhi. But the Prime Minister was not present. When inquired, I was told that he had gone to Yavatmal, Dhule for a public rally.”