Attributing the breakup in the longstanding Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena’s ‘perfidy’, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said it was Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s strategising and firm support that helped the BJP win elections on its own in the State.
Specifically alluding to the first severing of ties (after 25 years in alliance) between the two saffron partners before the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election, Mr. Fadnavis accused Mr. Thackeray’s Shiv Sena of breaking ties with the BJP merely for “a four seats.”
Furthermore, it was Mr. Shah’s constant backing of the State BJP unit that helped in the smooth transition of power and the formation of the new government (Shinde-Fadnavis government) in June this year, said the Deputy CM.
“We were ready to form an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election. We are also willing to fight on lesser number of seats. But the Shiv Sena broke the alliance for a mere four seats. Suddenly, the BJP, which had been contesting only on 117-118 Assembly seats for years, had ready to fight on all 288 seats overnight. The only reason we could do this is because Amit Shah firmly stood by us,” said Mr. Fadnavis, speaking in Mumbai during the launch of a booklet inspired by Mr. Shah’s thoughts.
He said that the BJP could win an election in the State on its own for the first time (in 2014) and that Mr. Shah had a lion’s share in this achievement.
“He [Mr. Shah] stayed in Maharashtra for two-and-a-half months. He used to spend his days in the BJP party office and he taught us a number of things about elections,” said Mr. Fadnavis, while praising PM Modi and Mr. Shah’s leadership and organisational skills that helped the BJP score an emphatic win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election held in February-March this year.
Despite the first schism, the BJP, which won 122 seats contesting independently in 2014 eventually formed the government with Mr. Thackeray’s Sena and jointly contested the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election.
However, Mr. Thackeray dumped the BJP after the election after the two parties fell out over the CM’s post, forming instead the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ government by allying with the ideologically opposed Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
He credited Mr. Shah’s ‘firmness’ for ensuring that the process for the formation of the new government, formed in June this year after Eknath Shinde’s revolt (along with 39 rebel Sena MLAs) split the Shiv Sena and toppled Mr. Thackeray’s MVA, went without a hitch and helped countering the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena’s “dishonesty”.
“It was because Mr. Shah constantly stood by us that the ‘original Shiv Sena’ [referring to CM Shinde’s Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena] and the BJP could come together and form the government in Maharashtra. Mr. Shah not only has leadership qualities but he holds the ability to deliver a decision in the right manner,” Mr. Fadnavis said.