Putting up a brave face after a hard-hitting attack by its ally Shiv Sena, BJP on Thursday downplayed it as “friendly advice” and talked of “long-standing committment” between the two parties as Sena slammed it for creating a “trust deficit” by hobnobbing with Raj Thackeray.
“I read the article (in Saamana). It gives anecdotes from history. It essentially speaks about the friendship of Shiv Sena, a long-standing committment of Shiv Sena with BJP and NDA. And, therefore, it is in the nature of a friendly advice and not anything against BJP,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
“As far as the matter of BJP and Shiv Sena was concerned, that was already sorted out and now there are no issues. We are a permanent ally and will fight for victory in Maharashtra and will win more than 35 seats,” he said.
His remarks came even as Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, in a hard-hitting editorial in mouthpiece Saamana, slammed BJP over its overtures to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
Asking BJP to adhere to the “dharma” of the alliance, Mr. Thackeray cited example of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray “who had rejected the offer of BJP rebel Shakarsinh Waghela in 1996 to form government of Shiv Sena in Gujarat”.
“(Narendra) Modi’s rise in Gujarat was possible because Bal Thackeray stuck to the dharma of alliance and did not align with Waghela. The BJP leaders who tried to reach out to the Sena deserters should read this history,” Mr. Thackeray said.
The Sena President said that if BJP wants power at the Centre with Mr. Modi as the Prime Minister, it should create an atmosphere of trust.
“You don’t get trust if you don’t create one yourself for others,” he said.
He also said that his party was capable of fighting its own battles. “If you sidestep and betray friends who have stood by you through thick and thin, you will be self-inflicting the label of betrayal,” Mr. Thackeray said.
He referred to some reports appearing in the media, saying BJP has adopted a new policy of “tying up with one regional party and carrying out backdoor deals with another”.
The pointed attack came against the backdrop of former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s overtures to Raj Thackeray and his proposal to MNS to not contest Lok Sabha elections to prevent consolidation of votes in favour of Congress.
The development stirred the politics in Maharashtra with Shiv Sena flexing its muscles over continuation of alliance. This prompted top BJP leadership, including Rajnath Singh and Mr. Modi, to do firefighting by pacifying Uddhav Thackeray.