Mumbai: Launching blistering attack on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for extending outside support to the BJP, Shiv Sena on Tuesday described the former ally of Congress as an “opportunist”.
In its fresh editorial published in `Saamana`, the party said the Sharad Pawar-led outfit offered support to BJP only to ensure that its "scam-tainted" leaders enjoy full protection.
"Until yesterday, BJP was a communal force and was mocked to be a party full of half pant wearing individuals by the NCP. They insulted Hindutva by mocking the Sangh's diktat of wearing half pants. Are they now really concerned about providing stability to Maharashtra? They only want to ensure that their corruption is not brought out in front of people," Shiv Sena said.
Terming NCP leader Praful Patel as an opportunist, Sena said his party doesn't even qualify to have an opposition leader.
"PM (Narendra) Modi had campaigned extensively against the NCP and called it a 'naturally corrupt' party that has looted Maharashtra. Vinod Tawde (BJP leader) had even threatened to unearth the scams of the Congress-NCP and send corrupt leaders to jail. And so, a party which does not even qualify to have an Opposition leader is resorting to such opportunism," the mouthpiece said.
Referring to a fractured mandate in the 13th Assembly Elections, Shiv Sena said a number of parties are taking advantage of no clear majority in Maharashtra.
Reminding the BJP of Shiv Sena's firm commitment towards a unified Maharashtra, it said that a massive mandate for the BJP in Vidarbha does not mean that people in that region have voted for a separate statehood.
"BJP has got a huge mandate in the Vidarbha region which has increased their tally substantially. But we cannot believe that this mandate is for a separate statehood for Vidarbha. BJP may have MLAs there but Shiv Sena has MPs from the region who are committed to having a unified Maharashtra. Their stand remains firm and will never change," the Sena said.
The BJP seems to have been caught in a cleft-stick in Maharashtra. With no political party securing clear majority in the 288-member Assembly, a period of political instability looms ahead in Maharashtra - though the Nationalist Congress Party has taken the lead to prevent such a situation.
Despite emerging as the single-largest party with 123 (122+1 ally) seats, the BJP falls 22 short of a simple majority - it cannot form the government, and it does not want to sit in opposition.
This has set off a hectic politicking between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party, both looking at the possibility of cobbling up a workable alliance - against the backdrop of the rancour developed in the past one month between the 25-year-old former allies.
The BJP would be entirely dependent on a demanding partner for pushing through any policy initiatives or major decisions, though the prime BJP chief ministerial contender Devendra Fadnavis, 44, is considered an aggressive go-getter.