Remarking that the Shiv Sena was always ready for an electoral battle at any given time, party MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut, in a thinly veiled jibe at coalition ally Congress, said that such parties must first emerge out of their confusion and then decide whether or not to contest polls alone.
“Some political parties in Maharashtra are speaking of fighting polls on their own. That is their lookout. But let there be no confusion on this count. One leader [State Congress chief Nana Patole] of that party says that it will fight on its own, while other leaders of that party say the opposite. So, such parties must first come out of their own confusion and then talk about how to fight the election,” said Mr. Raut, in a stinging riposte to the Congress without naming the party.
As far as the Shiv Sena was concerned, Mr. Raut said that the party’s chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his address to party workers on the occasion of the party’s 55th foundation day on Saturday, had clearly spoken on the saffron party’s self-reliance and its ability to fight the elections on its own.
Mr. Raut’s remarks, which follows a day after Mr. Thackeray’s potshots at the Congress, come in the wake of Mr. Patole’s recent statements hinting that his party could go it alone in the 2024 Assembly election and is indicative of the inherent friction within the ruling tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) coalition of the Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
In a recent address to party workers, Mr. Patole had further expressed Chief Ministerial ambitions by urging party workers to get Congress on the top in the next State election which would enable him to be CM.
On Saturday, Mr. Thackeray slammed the Congress’ talk of ‘going it alone’, remarking that the people would reject those who spoke only of contesting elections alone without offering solutions to people's problems.
“If a party says that it wants to contest elections on its own without joining hands with others, it should first generate confidence among the public of its ability to provide jobs,” the Chief Minister had said.
Commenting on the recent clash between Shiv Sainiks and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in the Dadar-Mahim area, Mr. Raut said: “This matter has nothing to do with the Sena’s ‘culture’. We do not get in anybody’s way, but if someone [the BJP in this case] aggressively attacks us, then we have no option but to give them a taste of their own medicine.”
Earlier, senior NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had rebuked Mr. Patole’s Chief Ministerial aspirations as well, stating that while there was nothing wrong in someone expressing their desire to become CM, the magic figure of 145 MLAs was imperative to become one.