Mumbai: The Shiv Sena Sunday said it will not be part of the nationwide shutdown on 20 September called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to protest against the hike in diesel and restriction of six subsidised cooking gas cylinders per family per year.
Citing the upcoming Ganesh festival as the key reason to be unable to participate in the strike, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said the party will continue to lend their moral support to the NDA.
"We will not participate in the Bharat Bandh due to Ganeshotsav. It is an important festival for Maharashtra," he told reporters.
Denying any rift in the NDA dispensation, Uddhav said: "We are with opposition parties. We are against the UPA. Shiv Sena is against the UPA government. However, we will not participate in the protest."
Speculation is rife that Shiv Sena, believed to be the key ally to the NDA, has been slowly distancing itself from the NDA.
Earlier this year, the Shiv Sena had supported Pranab Mukherjee and said he is a strong presidential candidate while the Bharatiya Janata Party had opposed Mukherjee's candidature.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by his Uddhav's cousin Raj Thackeray, also announced that they will not be a part of the shutdown call citing similar reasons.
"As a party, we do not participate in most shutdown calls, unless we know it is going to have any impact. The common man is already inconvenience by the inflation and the frequent hike in prices of essential commodities. What is the point in adding to their woes," MNS vice president Vageesh Saraswat told IANS.
"Also, it is not appropriate to shut down the state when a festival as important as Ganeshotsav has just begun on Sep 19," he added.