We are not BJP`s servants: UP Shiv Sainiks

Minutes after reports claimed that the Shiv Sena will field candidates in Varanasi and Lucknow, the Bharatiya Janata Party`s oldest ally denied the “rumours”.

By Kamna Arora | Last Updated: Mar 21, 2014, 13:29 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Mumbai: All is certainly not well between Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party.

Albeit Bharatiya Janata Party`s oldest ally, Shiv Sena, has denied fielding candidates in Varanasi and Lucknow, yet the statements made by the party`s Uttar Pradesh president Uday Pandey indicate tensions between the two allies.

Earlier on Friday, reports had quoted Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut as telling a news agency that his party will announce Lok Sabha candidates on 20 seats in Uttar Pradesh, including Varanasi and Lucknow. Notably, Varanasi is the most-talked about seat this election since BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting from there. BJP president Rajnath Singh is contesting from Lucknow. Later, Raut backtracked and said that Shiv Sena would contest from 20 seats in UP, but won`t field candidates against Modi and Rajnath.

"We have our alliance with BJP in Maharashtra, not in UP. We will strive to expand our party in other parts of the country. Shiv Sena will field 20 candidates in Uttar Pradesh," Raut said.

Shiv Sena`s youth leader Aaditya Thackeray took to microblogging website Twitter to quash the rumours.

However, Pandey has been quoted by a news agency as saying that they had forwarded names of party`s candidates to contest on Varanasi and Lucknow seats. But he just received a call from Shiv Sena HQ to withdraw the names from the two seats.

He also accused the BJP of using Shiv Sainiks “as their employees in UP, as their servants”. The Shiv Sena list had nominated Ajay Chaubey from Varanasi and Uday Pandey from Lucknow.

"Uddhavji initially told me to field 50 candidates in UP...later the demand was to field 20 candidates. We agreed," said Pandey, adding they will withdraw candidate from Lucknow if need arises, but "will support BJP with a heavy heart".

Earlier in the day, Thackeray tried to dissipate the controversy and tweeted:

Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh told reporters that it is beyond his imagination to think that the alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena will ever break.

Talking to a news agency, Raut had also announced that Shiv Sena will also nominate Lok Sabha candidates on five seats each in Bihar and Delhi, and two in Punjab.

Reacting to the development, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar had said that Shiv Sena`s decision to contest against Modi and Rajnath clearly shows all is not well in NDA.

The report came days after a political crisis was triggered by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena`s (MNS) decision to support Narendra Modi as prime minister.

The mood in the Shiv Sena soured after MNS chief Raj Thackeray announced support for Modi without joining either the NDA or the five-party saffron "Grand Alliance" in Maharashtra. He also announced the putting up of MNS candidates against Shiv Sena nominees except in Pune.

Modi had phoned Uddhav in an attempt to defuse the crisis and to reassure him about continuing the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.