Amid speculations over likely political alignments in Maharashtra against the backdrop of the state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis meeting MNS chief Raj Thackeray, NCP on Thursday said that BJP will “ditch” its NDA partner Shiv Sena because the party has been decimated over a period of time.
On Wednesday, Mr. Fadnavis visited Mr. Raj at his residence ‘Krishnakunj’ in Dadar, setting tongues wagging about whether BJP is cozying up to the estranged Thackeray cousin.
Seeking to drive a wedge between the saffron alliance, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik on Thursday claimed that Shiv Sena’s days in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are numbered.
“BJP’s history shows that the party does not continue alliance with parties that have declined. The moment they (BJP) feel that the ally has weakened, the party parts ways and goes elsewhere,” Mr. Malik said.
Taking a dig at the demands seeking induction of Raj Thackeray into “Maha-yuti” (grand alliance) of BJP, Shiv Sena and RPI, the NCP spokesperson said there was no need to form Maharashtra Democratic Alliance when NDA already exists at the national level.
“After the talk of inducting MNS into the grand alliance, Shiv Sena through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ scotched these speculations. Even RPI leader Ramdas Athavale and Gopinath Munde (BJP) stopped talking about taking MNS on board,” he said.
Mr. Malik said that Mr. Fadnavis chose to meet Mr. Raj when Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was abroad.
“How can Mr. Fadnavis say that the meeting was not political in nature when two leaders are involved?” he asked.
Responding to a query whether his party is planning to align with Shiv Sena, Mr. Malik said that NCP will continue to be in the UPA fold.
Meanwhile, Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who has been vocal to take MNS on board in the grand alliance ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections, recently said that let the Thackeray cousins settle their differences among themselves.
Even Mr. Athavle, who had last week extended invitation to MNS to join the grand alliance, has done a volte face saying there should not be a union of the two cousins as it would have repercussions on the Sena-Saffron alliance.
Mr. Malik said that Shiv Sena has a hidden agenda in demanding its portion of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse land.
“It looks like chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s honeymoon with Sena has ended. Sena leaders met him on Sunday with a plan to have a park at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Mr. Chavan has said that he has not given them any assurance. In fact, the Sena’s real design is to build a memorial for late Bal Thackeray,” the NCP MLA said.
Shiv Sena has demanded a theme park on the famed Racecourse land and is against renewing the lease of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), which expired on May 31.
Taking a dig at the chief minister for not convening a coordination committee meeting as demanded by his party, Mr. Malik said “Chavan has time to meet the Sena delegation led by Mr. Uddhav, but not to discuss issues raised by NCP”.