Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray slammed the BJP in an interview in his party mouthpiece Saamana and said the party was fighting for the dreams of the common man and not the dreams of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to several media reports.
"We don't have only one friend. We are friends of the public," Uddhav said in the interview conducted by Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Sanjay Raut, according to a report in NDTV. He added, "I will hunt but don't need to shoot over anyone else's shoulder. Nor will I need a gun for the hunt."
According to a report in Hindustan Times, Uddhav, in the 50-minute interview, discussed a variety of subjects. “I don’t accept the Hindutva that is being adhered to in the country, for the last three-four years. That is the not our idea of Hindutva. Our women are unsafe today, and you are protecting the cows. You can’t target people for their eating preferences,” he said, according to the report.
Asian Age reported that Uddhav added, “We are friends of Bhartiya janata, not of any party.”
Uddhav's interview comes just a day after BJP chief Amit Shah hinted that the saffron party would go it alone for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls during a closed-door assessment meeting of senior leaders in Mumbai.
At the meeting, Shah laid down a 23-point working strategy and discussed issues such as increasing the party strength, addressing new voters' groups based on their profession, gender, likings etc. and a regular follow up of the voters by the local party workers.
"The national president plainly stated that the strategy has to be implemented in all the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in the state. At present, the BJP shares its political space with the Shiv Sena and a couple of smaller allies. It is a message that says 'prepare for contesting elections alone'. We will have to rush as the general election are now less than a year away," said a senior BJP minister who attended the meeting.
On Friday, the Shiv Sena abstained from voting on the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha moved by the Opposition against the Narendra Modi government. Just a day earlier, Sena's chief whip in Lok Sabha, Chandrakant Khaire, issued a whip to MPs asking them to be present in the House when the motion was discussed and to support the government.
The BJP and Shiv Sena have been at loggerheads over a number of issues. From severely criticising demonetisation to releasing a 56-page booklet titled Ghotalebaaz BJP (Scamster BJP), that listed all the "scams" that allegedly took place under the Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, Sena has been stepping up its attacks against its alliance partner BJP.
The recent among all these rebukes is Sena's disapproval and bitter opposition to proposed Rs 1.45 lakh crore oil refinery in coastal Maharashtra. Shiv Sena on Thursday said that the project won't be allowed to be "thrust" on the locals there.
With Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections both scheduled for 2019, the Sena appears to be using these tactics to show its alliance partners that it holds all the cards and will emerge as the big brother in the state.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 23, 2018 19:00 PM