New Delhi, May 31: In the just-concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly by-elections, Palghar proved to be the bone of contention between allies BJP and Shiv Sena. The two wrangled over the seat, with votes getting divided in BJP’s favour, and the Sena crying foul. However, the EC declared BJP’s Rajendra Gavit the winner, leaving the saffron party’s ally smarting as its candidate Shrinivas Wanaga came second. Also Read - Cyclone Nisarga: Three Dead, Trees Uprooted But Mumbai Spared Major Damage | Key Developments
The divide between the two parties couldn’t have grown wider but the public name-calling has left other parties wondering why the alliance is still on. Today, NCP’s Praful Patel said that while he agreed with all the allegations that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray levelled against the BJP, nobody would believe him as he continued to be an ally. Later, Congress leader Ashok Chavan said, “Instead of all the time criticizing the decisions of the government, Shiv Sena should simply break the alliance if they are really so unhappy… Why are they still supporting BJP if they’re so unhappy with their decisions?” Also Read - Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Vows 'Strict Action' Against Culprit After Pregnant Elephant Dies on Being Fed Cracker-Stuffed Pineapple in Malappuram
Meanwhile, the BJP seemed to offer the olive branch. CM Devendra Fadnavis told a press conference in the evening, “We are not against BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and neither do we believe that our alliance will break but the effort has to be from both ways. We are ready for talks with Shiv Sena.” Elsewhere, MoS, Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir said, “We did fight an election against them. We (BJP & Shiv Sena) are two parties but we have the same ideology. We have an alliance with them and you can have some differences with your partners but that doesn’t mean we are quitting the alliance.” Also Read - Cyclone Nisarga: CM Uddhav Thackeray Asks Officials to Get Ready For Rescue, Relief Operation
On his part, Thackeray ridiculed BJP’s poster boy Yogi Adityanath for campaigning in Maharashtra and ending up losing Kairana by-poll. He said, “Yogi Adityanath is losing in his own state and he is coming to campaign here (Maharashtra). Janta ne Yogi ji ki masti utaardi hai.” But he skirted all questions on the fate of the alliance by claiming he was more concerned about the democracy.
Sources within the BJP have said the Sena shouldn’t have fielded a candidate from Palghar as the BJP was out to retain its seat. The by-poll was necessitated by the death of sitting MP Chintaman Wanaga. While the Sena fielded Wanaga’s son, the BJP got Gavit, a Congress turncoat. It was a matter of prestige for both the parties and the BJP got Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis campaigning extensively.
The poll campaign also turned ugly with the BJP calling the Sena a “backstabber” even as Uddhav Thackeray released an audio clip of Fadnavis allegedly asking BJP workers to use all possible means to win the election. Fadnavis hit back by releasing another clip, calling it the complete version. Political analysts say the BJP benefited from the division of votes between the Sena and the BVA as both parties polled over two lakh votes each.