States

‘BJP still hopeful of alliance with Sena’

Chandrakant Patil said the two parties are natural allies and the Hindutva ideology courses through their veins.

Chandrakant Patil said the two parties are natural allies and the Hindutva ideology courses through their veins.  

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Chandrakant Patil rubbishes reports of disaffected Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde quitting party

With the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Congress yet to decide on the portfolio allocation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday said he is still hopeful of a BJP-Sena alliance in the near future given that the two saffron parties are “natural allies”.

“The two parties are natural allies. The Hindutva ideology courses through their veins. We [the BJP and the Sena] have had an alliance for the last 30 years and I am still hopeful of one in the future,” Mr. Patil, who is an MLA from Pune’s Kothrud, said.

Mr. Patil was reacting to former chief minister and senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s statement on Tuesday that both estranged parties could come together in the near future and that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would take a decision on this at the right time.

“Ideally, both the BJP and the Sena ought to have come together and formed a government after the Assembly poll results were out as we had the mandate,” said Mr. Patil, adding the doors for discussion were always open to the Sena and that the BJP had no pride or arrogance in this matter.

The BJP leader quelled suggestions that disaffected OBC leaders within the party Eknath Khadse and Pankaja Munde will be exiting the BJP. “They [Mr. Khadse and Ms. Munde] are not any freshly inducted leaders into the BJP fold but senior and experienced leaders. Mr. Khadse and Ms. Munde had some issues and were upset about certain things which they have confided in me. But this does not mean that they are going to leave the party.”

Mr. Patil said the BJP’s ideals have been imbibed by Ms. Munde since her childhood, and alleged that rumours of Ms. Munde’s alleged disenchantment with the BJP are a mere figment of the media’s imagination. “Likewise, Mr. Khadse has been instrumental in building the BJP in Maharashtra along with the late Gopinath Munde. There is no way that he will quit the party.”

The BJP State chief also said he will take part in the much-anticipated ‘Swabhiman’ rally organised by Ms. Munde at Gopinathgad in Beed district on December 12 to mark the birth anniversary of her late father. All eyes are on Ms. Munde’s rally where it is expected she would clear the air on whether she would indeed be quitting the BJP or floating a new outfit of OBC communities, as is the grapevine.

Mr. Khadse, who has been a critic of his party’s functioning, was denied a ticket by the BJP high command in the Assembly polls. While a ticket was finally given to his daughter Rohini Khadse, the latter suffered a major upset in Mr. Khadse’s stronghold at Muktainagar in Jalgaon.

Ms. Munde, too, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of her estranged cousin, the NCP’s Dhananjay Munde, in the fiercely contested Parli segment.

Since then, both leaders have bitterly hinted that their downfall was engineered by some leaders within the party, giving rise to speculation of the BJP’s OBC leaders raising the banner of revolt. Mr. Khadse has held parleys with Mr. Thackeray and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, triggering buzz on a possible defection to either party.

Meanwhile, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal said he sympathises with the situation of OBC leaders in the BJP, but he does not think a highly experienced leader like Mr. Khadse will quit his party in a rash manner.

“They [Mr. Khadse and Mr. Munde] are experienced leaders and would take the right political decision… Mr. Khadse will be welcome if he comes to our party [the NCP] or joins the Sena… However, there is no denying that OBC leaders within the BJP are unhappy,” Mr. Bhujbal said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:09:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/bjp-still-hopeful-of-alliance-with-sena/article30281140.ece

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