A majority of Shiv Sena MPs and several Sena MLAs were allegedly disenchanted with the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition of the Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress and were reportedly in touch with the BJP, said vice-president of the party’s Maharashtra unit Prasad Lad on Tuesday.
According to Mr. Lad, 13-14 of the 18 Shiv Sena MPs and nearly 25 of the 56 MLAs were disgruntled with the party’s leadership — notably Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s ambivalence over ‘Hindutva’ — and on being ‘sidelined’ within the MVA. The BJP MLC, however, refused to share details of specific Sena leaders who were in contact with the saffron party.
Mr. Lad’s claim is the latest in a sesries of BJP claims and predictions regarding the imminent collapse of the MVA.
The BJP, which had contested the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election in alliance with the Sena, had won the highest number of seats (105) but failed to form the government after the Sena severed ties and former a coalition with the ideologically opposed NCP and Congress to form the MVA.
Since then, the BJP, forced to sit in the Opposition, has been trying to engender schisms within the MVA coalition by repeatedly accusing the Sena of having forsaken its ‘Hindutva’ credentials after going along with the Congress and the NCP.
“Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has forgotten what his party once stood for… Many MPs resent the Sena’s dissociation with Hindutva. This will be expressed in the 2024 elections when they ally with a party with a pro-Hindu stance [read BJP],” claimed Mr. Lad. He also lauded Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s adherence to the Hindutva line, while implying more Sena leaders ought to do the same.
Earlier, BJP Maharashtra president Chandrakant Patil and Union Minister Narayan Rane had claimed that the MVA would fall in March this year. However, their claims were ridiculed by the MVA leadership.