Sangli: Even after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parted ways with one of its oldest allies — the Shiv Sena — Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday refrained from attacking the erstwhile NDA ally in poll-bound Maharashtra.
Speaking at an election rally here, PM said that it was out of respect for Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray that he would not utter a word against the saffron outfit.
"These are the first polls to take place in absence of Balasaheb Thackeray ji. He was the man who stood for the rights of people," said the Prime Minister.
"There are some things which are above politics...There are feelings. Not everything should be linked to politics," he said, and added, "I have decided to express my respect for Balasaheb Thackeray ji and won't speak a word against Shiv Sena. This will be my tribute to him."
After the 25-year long tie between the two parties broke over seat sharing in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls, Shiv Sena leaders have launched a full-frontal attack on the BJP.
Shiv Sena's youth wing president Aditya Thackeray in an interview had accused the BJP of 'back-stabbing' one of its oldest allies. He added that while the Thackeray clan supported it through thick and thin, he blamed the BJP for breaking off ties when 'acche din' arrived.
"BJP grew in Maharashtra by holding the hand of Shiv Sena. However, as soon as the party came to power at the Centre, it snapped ties with the Sena. By doing this, the BJP has back-stabbed late Balasaheb Thackeray," Aditya Thackeray had said.
Balasaheb always considered Sena's alliance partner BJP as a family, Aditya said adding, "Nonetheless, the BJP parted ways with us over seat sharing."
The BJP in return has been rather subdued in its reactions, hinting at the fact that perhaps it felt that the allies could have to form a post-poll alliance to wrest initiative from the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
When asked about the BJP's strategy in case of a hung Assembly, Gadkari said, "If the situation arises, we can certainly think of that. Shiv Sena has been our ally bound together on the base of Hindutva."
"We have the same amount of love for Bal Thackeray as we have for Atalji," he added.