Nashik Shiv Sena unit quits over BJP MLA candidature
The Nashik unit of the Shiv Sena has resigned in protest against BJP MLA Hiray being given a ticket from Nashik West. According to Shiv Sena leaders, the reason is primarily that the BJP has parted with seats that are tough to win.
“The BJP was putting pressure on our party leaders to ensure that we don’t work for Shinde and that we work for Hiray instead. We have resigned from the party,” said one of the Shiv Sena members who have resigned, speaking on condition of anonymity.
However, some people aware of the matter claimed that the resignations were part of a well choreographed strategy to ensure that the Shiv Sena does not face pressure from the BJP top brass to rein in its cadres. The party has not accepted the resignations, and has no intention of doing so, they said.
Similarly, in Kalyan, 300 Shiv Sena office-bearers and around 26 corporators “resigned” from the party after the Kalyan assembly seat went to the BJP. Here too, the party leadership has not accepted their resignations.
The tactical support by the Shiv Sena to party rebels underlines the tug of war between the oldest partners in the National Democratic Alliance, said one of the persons cited earlier.
“Cadres are naturally unhappy over the seatsharing deal, which they believe is skewed,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told a television channel.
BJP was a junior partner of Shiva Sena, but the situation changed after the 2014 assembly polls when it won more seats (122) than the Sena (63) after the two allies contested separately. On the Shiv Sena’s insistence, the BJP has given it almost double the seats it won in 2014. But even after getting 124 seats, the regional party is grappling with discontent among itscadres.
According to Shiv Sena leaders, the reason is primarily that the BJP has parted with seats that are tough to win. For instance, the Mumbadevi seat has a sizeable minority presence and the Congress candidate, Amin Patel, has won it twice. Similarly, the Chandivali seat in Mumbai falls in another minority dominated area where Congress leader Nassim Khan has been winning comfortably for years.
There are at least 20 such seats, Shiv Sena leaders said and alleged that the BJP was riding roughshod over its ally in order to come to power on its own.
“The Congress and the NCP are at their fag end and once the BJP gets over with them it will turn its attention to us, as we will be the last big party standing in its way. Naturally, there would be some pushback,” said a Shiv Sena leader. The party has also alleged that many BJP rebels are contesting against Shiv Sena candidates in Jalgaon. Shiv Sena leader Gulabrao Patil claimed that the BJP rebels who are contesting against its candidates are displaying pictures of BJP leaders like Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis while campaigning. Patil openly questioned whether the BJP was giving tacit support to its rebels.