Mumbai: Hours before the crucial meeting between BJP national president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, the junior partner of the ruling coalition at the Centre and in Maharashtra took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign, calling it ‘too little, too late’.
Sanjay Raut said that the BJP should have done this much earlier and attributed the latest outreach on part of the senior partner as a fallout of its drubbing in bypolls.
An editorial Saamana on Wednesday questioned the reason behind Shah’s meetings with the NDA allies and pointed to the BJP’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls. “The Shiv Sena showed its strength in the Palghar bypoll. In such a situation, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls can be one reason behind the BJP chief’s Sampark Abhiyan,” the editorial said.
In an apparent reference to PM Narendra Modi in its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, the Shiv Sena said that Palgarh Lok Sabha bypolls have cemented their belief that the party doesn’t need any ‘poster boy’ to fight or win elections.
“Why is the BJP doing ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign after their defeat in the recently-held bypolls? Shiv Sena will fight the 2019 general elections on its own strength. The Palghar bypoll has shown the power of the party,” the editorial reads.
Shah’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign has seen the leader meet people from different walks of life in a bid to inform them of the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in the last four years of which the Shiv Sena is also a part.
The meeting between the two leaders comes at a time when relations between the two parties have been hitting new lows. Ties between the two alliance partners deteriorated further following Sena’s defeat in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls, prompting an angry Sena to describe the BJP as its ‘biggest political enemy’ and announcing that the party will go solo in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The Shiv Sena has 12 Ministers (5 Cabinet ranks and 7 MoS ranks) in the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra. At the Centre, the party has just one representation – Anant Geete in the Narendra Modi Cabinet. He is the Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.