The differences between alliance partners Shiv Sena and BJP that have come face to face on many occasions, reaches to another level as Shiv Sena refuses to invite the latter for its 50th anniversary celebrations. The decision taken by Uddhav Thackeray-led party has triggered a fresh controversy as the state is in its run-up to the Mumbai municipal corporation elections.
According to political observers, the escalating tensions in the alliance may lead both the hindutwa fractions to face the polls in 2017 separately.
While being asked about not extending invitation to BJP for the grand anniversary celebrations, state industries minister and senior Sena member Subhash Desai claimed that they have invited no any party to take part in the event. “We have not invited BJP to the event. In fact, we have not invited any other party. It is an internal matter,” he said.
Meantime, BJP leadership tried to tune down the controversy by wishing Shiv Sena all the very best for its new milestone. “We wish them well. There is no compulsion. It is their choice,” BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar said.
The 50th anniversary will be held in NSE grounds in Goregaon, Mumbai where party chief Uddhav Thackeray will address Shiv Sainiks hailing from the different parts of Maharashtra.
This is not the first time when Shiv Sena showed its dissent at its central ally. The party has come down heavily many a time against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for its policies.
Earlier this month it has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi “to stop maligning India on foreign shores” with his public utterances on corruption in the country.
The Sena took strong objection to Modi’s repeated statements criticizing the corrupt systems in India during his foreign trips, saying this would prove counter-productive in the long run.
The Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana that Prime Minsiter maligned the country’s image among world nations disclosing about deep-routed grafts in India.
“The PM said publicly in Doha how India was steeped in graft, and outlined the measures he had initiated to clean up the mess. The gathering clapped and cheered him. This is nothing but maligning the country’s fair image abroad,” Saamna wrote.
“The (corruption) matters coming up in (BJP-ruled) Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh – can the Gandhi family be still blamed for it?” it asked.
Meanwhile, there are some who think that Shiv Sena’s move to not invite BJP for the anniversary party is its retaliation move to BJP for not inviting its chief Uddhav Thackeray for the grand inaugural event of Make in India campaign held in its citadel. The BJP had refused to invite him, even after many attempts were made from the Shiv Sena ally, to include him in the invitees’ list.
he tit-for-tat over invitations peaked when Uddhav Thackeray was not invited to the high-profile inaugural event of the Make in India Week in Mumbai which was presided over by PM Modi. The invitation was not extended despite Sena functionaries publicly voicing their unhappiness over the exclusion.
Yet, many say the frosty ties apart, the public carping may not help Sena to distance itself from BJP in the civic body elections. After all, the allies run the government together and are seen as jointly responsible for its image and its decisions.