Maharashtra: Congress-Shiv Sena rift? Sena MLA suggests alliance with BJP
Maharashtra's Shiv Sena party has hit out at ally Indian National Congress after the latter announced it will contest in local body elections solo. Meanwhile, a Sena MLA has suggested forming an alliance with the rival Bharatiya Janata Party—which heads the ruling alliance at the Centre—to prevent harassment from federal agencies. However, the Sena assured it is committed to its alliance with Congress.
The Shiv Sena criticized the Congress party in an editorial published in its party mouthpiece Saamana. The Sena reportedly said that allied parties should not speak about flying solo right before elections, adding that people are not going to forgive them, Times Now reported. The Shiv Sena, Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party form the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government in Maharashtra.
On Saturday, Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that people would "beat with chappals (slippers)" those who talk about contesting polls alone without offering solutions to people's problems.
However, Sena's Sanjay Raut said that the three-party alliance is committed to complete its five-year term, assuring that there is no rift. Without naming the BJP, he said, "Outsiders who want to form government in the state, and are restless after losing power, may try but the alliance will continue. People may try to break Sena, Congress, and NCP but they would not succeed."
Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap said on Monday the party will contest the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections alone without the MVA. Congress Maharashtra unit chief Nana Patole had also said on Sunday that the MVA is not a permanent fixture. Last Monday, Patole said the party will contest the next Assembly polls alone and not as an ally in the MVA.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik wrote to CM Thackeray on June 10 asking the party to team up with the BJP again. Sarnaik said this would prevent Sena leaders—including him, Anil Parab, and Ravindra Waikar—from being harassed by central agencies. Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had raided Sarnaik's properties in connection with a money laundering case.
Commenting on Sarnaik's letter to Thackeray, Raut said, "This is his opinion but the role of the party is decided by the party chief Uddhav Thackeray after discussing with all." Notably, the BJP and Shiv Sena were allies before the 2019 Maharashtra elections.