Shiv Sena ends alliance with BJP: To contest 2019 Lok Sabha, Maha Assembly polls alone

Shiv Sena ends alliance with BJP: To contest 2019 Lok Sabha, Maha Assembly polls alone
Uddhav Thackeray addressing the National Executive meet (Picture: ANI)

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday passed a resolution to end its near three-decade-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). It will now fight the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections on its own.

Sena, incidentally, is one of BJP’s oldest allies. It entered an alliance with BJP for Lok Sabha as well as Maharashtra assembly elections in 1989.

Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut moved the resolution during the party’s National Executive meet at the Worli Sports Complex in Mumbai earlier today. The resolution was passed unanimously.

“The BJP allied with the Sena in the name of Hindutva and the Sena kept patience for Hindutva. However, the BJP in the last three years has been demoralising the Sena and using power to do so,” Raut said.

The saffron party has reportedly pledged to win at least 25 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats and 150 out of 288 state assembly seats in the upcoming elections.

“PM (Narendra Modi) calls himself ‘Pant Pradhan’, all he does is travel abroad. He took Israeli PM to Ahmedabad, why not to Lal Chowk in Srinagar? Why couldn’t he have done a roadshow in Srinagar? Had he hoisted tricolour in Lal chowk, we would have felt sense of pride towards our PM,” Uddhav said while addressing the meet.

“Nitin Gadkari came to Maharashtra and insulted the Navy which guards our borders here. People of armed forces are the ones with real 56-inch chest, how can you insult them?” he added.

Sena’s support to BJP in Maharashtra, however, is expected to continue till next year as it has not explicitly talked about walking out of the state government. The BJP needs Sena’s support to complete its tenure as it does not have a clear majority.

Since the BJP came to power in the centre, a number of Sena leaders have been vocal in opposing some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies. They also took opposite stands on a number of key issues, which furthered the rift between the two.

While both Uddhav and CM continued to work together, the alliance was hanging by a thread as party leaders from both sides continued to press for ending the coalition.

The decision to contest last year’s BMC elections separately, despite being in power in the state, was one of the first major indicators that the alliance was nearing its end.

Later in December, Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray announced the party’s decision to go national and hinted at walking out of the Maharashtra government in a year’s time.

Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Let’s wait, they have been saying many things, as of now we are in alliance in the government and this government will complete its 5 years.”

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena also held internal polls to elect its party president and other functionaries today.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was re-elected unopposed and Aaditya was elevated into the top rung of Shiv Sena’s leadership after being made a member of the party’s National Executive.

The party also passed a resolution concerning complete loan waiver to farmers in Maharashtra and implementation of recommendations by Swaminathan Commission for agrarian reforms.

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