Maharashtra BJP, Shiv Sena set to split?

Ahead of the Assembly Elections in Maharashtra, resentment about Shiv Sena among BJP workers came to the fore at a party`s internal meet.

Zee Media Bureau

Mumbai: Ahead of the Assembly Elections in Maharashtra, resentment about Shiv Sena among BJP workers came to the fore at a party`s internal meet.

Buoyed by the party`s spectacular showing in the Lok Sabha elections, several office-bearers of the Maharashtra BJP on Thursday said the party must not play second fiddle to alliance partner Shiv Sena in the Assembly Elections, which are due later this year.

At a meeting in Mumbai, some leaders made speeches in which they said that Shiv Sena had not allowed the BJP to grow in the state in the last 25 years.
"Shiv Sena (traditionally) contests 174 seats and BJP only 114 (in the Assembly polls). The difference is too big and our party should get an equal share," senior BJP leader Madhu Chavan said.

Some speakers wanted the party to end the alliance.

"Don`t underestimate us. The party leadership should trust the workers and contest all the 288 seats and we will create history," a BJP leader said.

Another leader said while the BJP treated Sena as an elder brother, the sentiment was not reciprocated.

Chavan said Shiv Sena tried to make "a bonsai" of BJP, and this must not be tolerated.

Another office-bearer said the "business of partnership" should be on equal terms.
Responding to the sentiments, state BJP chief Devendra Fadanvis told party workers that grievances regarding the Shiv Sena would be addressed at an appropriate forum.

"Shiv Sena has been our friend in good times as well as bad times. Just because our party has done well in the Lok Sabha elections, it would not be correct to call for breaking of the alliance," he said.

Fadanvis said the party had taken note of the genuine sentiments of the workers.

"Our strike rate is better. Every candidate of our party polled more than five lakh votes in Lok Sabha," Fadanvis said, but also added that the alliance with Sena was based on ideology.

"Our aim should be to rid Maharashtra of the Congress-NCP rule through the Mahayuti (the opposition alliance which includes Sena and BJP)," the state BJP chief said.

Senior BJP leader and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the state leadership should prepare a vision document for Maharashtra ahead of the polls. He also asked the state BJP to support the Central government to turn the dismal situation in the country around within three months.

"We are now in the ruling party and challenge is to behave responsibly," he said.

Gadkari also asked the party to avoid debate on who will be Chief Minister or ministers post-polls.

"Only think about how to free Maharashtra from the Congress-NCP who have created a record in corrupt governance," he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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