The two-decade alliance between state and national saffron power, the Shiv Sena and the BJP respectively, is fast moving towards a deadlock. In fact, the two are taking different routes to voicing their differences. While the BJP has been making press statements with amazing regularity, the Shiv Sena was playing it quiet. But no longer.“We have never raised the issue of break up and are not even considering it,” Thackeray said at Sena Bhavan on Sunday.
Shiv Sena’s executive president dared BJP to prove its presence in the state without the Sena’s crutches. “Without the Shiv Sena, the BJP is nothing in the state,” Uddhav said, warning the BJP to think about the ground truths
before it speaks.”
Stating that senior BJP leaders seemed to be in a hurry in threatening to break away, Uddhav refused to make the first move in that direction. “Why should the Sena take the decision of break away?” he asked.
“We are not in hurry. Let the BJP, which was to announce their stand after the presidential election, make the first official move,” he said, adding, “Every time its indications fizzle into the thin air.”
Earlier on Saturday, BJP state president Nitin Gadkari told the party office-bearers that BJP would want to fight the 2009 assembly polls alone. Stating that “nobody (read Shiv Sena) should treat us as a weak party”, he told the BJP cadre that the time has come to work for an independent identity.
Uddhav reacted to Gadkari’s statement, saying the BJP should first realise ground realities. Clarifying again that the Sena had supported Pratibha Patil only because she was a woman and a daughter of the state, it did not mean that the party was supporting the Congress, Uddhav said, “We are not caught in the Hindutva versus Marathi debate. Both are two sides of one coin.”
Meanwhile, opposition leader Ramdas Kadam has called for a joint legislative meeting of the two warring saffron parties in his chamber today before they get on with the legislative session. According to the Sena chief whip Gajanan Kirtikar, the meeting has been called for better co-ordination and joint strategy in the current session of the House.
With Kadam making the meeting compulsory for top leaders of both parties, including all MLAs and MLCs, it remains to be seen where the saffron is headed in the state.