After days of criticising the policies and leadership of its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena has finally decided to part ways. The party has decided to contest Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019 without being a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The proposal for the same was put forth during the national executive of Shiv Sena, the oldest ally of the BJP, by senior party leader Sanjay Raut. The resolution was passed by the national executive unanimously.
Following the decision, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said, "We will fight elections in every state for the cause of Hindutva. I take this vow today."
— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2018
According to the Shiv Sena, it has been demoralised by the BJP in the last three years. Raut said that Shiv Sena will fight for its pride and fight the elections in 2019 independently.
Later, the Shiv Sena chief said, "In the coming elections, Shiv Sena will fight in all states on its own." He also targeted Union Minister Nitin Gadkari over his recent remark on Indian Navy, wherein he said that no land would be allotted for personnel of the force. He said, "Nitin Gadkari came to Maharashtra and insulted the Navy which guards our borders here. People of armed forces are the ones with real 56 inch chest, how can you insult them?"
Thackeray also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the recent visit of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to Gujarat, saying, "PM calls himself 'Pant Pradhan', all he does is travel abroad. He took Israeli PM to Ahmedabad, why not to Lal Chowk in Srinagar? Why couldn't he have done a roadshow in Srinagar? Had he hoisted tricolour in Lal chowk, we would have felt sense of pride towards our PM.
Talking about the development, Sanjay Raut said the party would win at least 25 Lok Sabha seats (out of a total 48 in Maharashtra) and 125 Assembly seats (out of a total 288) in the state.
"The BJP allied with the Sena in the name of Hindutva and the Sena kept patience for Hindutva. However, the BJP in the last three years has been demoralising the Sena and using power to do so," Raut said.
As of now, the Shiv Sena has 63 seats while the BJP has 122 seats in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.
In Lok Sabha, both the parties are part of the NDA.While the BJP holds a comfortable majority on its own with 274 seats, the Shiv Sena has just 18.
The split between the two parties was earlier out in the open during the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections, where BJP and Shiv Sena contested independently. It was a neck-and-neck fight between the two as Sena won 84 seats while the BJP was a close second with 82.