NOW THAT the BJP and Shiv Sena have announced their candidates for the Assembly election, internal rifts within the saffron alliance have surfaced. In Kalyan (West), a mass resignation from BJP leaders and local workers followed when the nomination for the seat went to the Shiv Sena. The seat was being closely watched by both the parties. In a similar situation, Sena leaders have also threatened mass resignation over the Thane city seat going to the BJP.
The resignation letters of the BJP leaders and workers, including those of the Kalyan MLA and the Kalyan BJP chief, mentioned that they will not support a Sena leader. On Tuesday, the resignations were submitted to the regional committee. A letter written by Kalyan BJP chief Premnath Mhatre stated that the mass resignation was due to the seat going to the Shiv Sena. “We have suffered injustice at the hands of state leaders for sometime now. This move has left us with no option but to resign,” the letter stated.
The letter was also signed by MLA Narendra Pawar and 10 other local leaders, including Kalyan zilla chief Mahesh Joshi and leaders like Rajabhau Patkar, Chandrashekhar Tambde and several local corporators and workers. “For years, we have won this seat, the public knows and trusts us. Why should we give up the seat?” a worker asked. Another added, “We feel left out and cheated.”
Party sources said BJP and Sena had exchanged the Kalyan (West) seat with the Belapur seat. However, the Sena is planning on giving the Kalyan seat to Prakash Patil, the rural chief, who is a resident of Bhiwandi.
“Kalyan (West) has always been faithful to the Sena. However, we will not support an outsider (Patil). If the seat has come to us, one of us should get the chance to fight for it,” said a Sena leader, requesting anonymity.
A senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity, said, “We understand the sentiments of our Kalyan workers. We will pacify them. After all, when you have an alliance, we have to take a step back and move ahead.”
In Thane, Sena leaders are contemplating giving in their resignations as the seat has gone to the BJP. “We had requested the senior leaders to keep our hard work in mind, but it seems that we have been ignored. The region is a Sena stronghold and we have shown that during the Lok Sabha elections,” a Sena leader said.