BJP-SENA divide grows further

BJP-SENA divide grows further

Amidst intensified war-of-words between BJP and Shiv Sena at a time when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis completes three years in office, Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday asked party workers to be ready for polls and increase contact with the masses.

"We must work as a composite team and be ready all the timewe do not know when the polls would be," Thackeray said at a meeting of Shiv Sena district presidents and top office-bearers which was held in Mumbai.

At the meeting, a booklet on the corruption charges that the BJP ministers are facing was released and the copies were given to district officials of the party, however, a close aide of Thackeray refused to elaborate on the closed-door meeting.

Senior BJP leader and Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, however, brushed aside the development. "The Shiv Sena seems to be disturbed. They are part of the government, they sit in Cabinet meetings and the decisions are taken there," he said. On the issue of the booklet, he said that the charges are false.

On Fadnavis' comment that "it cannot be in government and opposition at the same time", the Sena had hit back on Tuesday saying "see if it's fine, otherwise leave it".

When asked about Sena's stand, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said that Thackeray has been raising the issues of the common man. "If they have problems, they should decide," he said, adding: "Where we have failed, they should tell us."

The renewed aggression of Shiv Sena stems from the fact that Thackeray's bte noire and senior politician Narayan Rane who had joined the BJP-led NDA after floating Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, is likely to be inducted into the government as a minister.

Rane started off with the Shiv Sena, however, was expelled in 2005 by the party supremo late Bal Thackeray after he raised a banner of revolt against the supremo's son, and had later joined the Congress. However, Rane left Congress too and had joined the NDA ranks and was seen defending prime minister Narendra Modi on the issue of Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.

The series of political developments involving Rane has in a sort challenged the BJP-Sena unity. In fact, Thackeray has expressed his displeasure to the BJP on this issue.

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