Whispers of unease in BJP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra

RSTV Bureau
Mumbai: Former ideologue of the BJP Sudheendra Kulkarni, with face blackened by Shiv Sena activists, and former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri showing the latter's book at a press conference in Mumbai on October 12, 2015. Photo - PTI

Mumbai: Former ideologue of the BJP Sudheendra Kulkarni, with face blackened by Shiv Sena activists, and former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri showing the latter’s book at a press conference in Mumbai on October 12, 2015.
Photo – PTI

With Maharashtra government nearing to complete one year in office, there are whispers of fissures between the two ruling allies – BJP and Shiv Sena. Recent incident of attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, former aide of PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s music concert have only added to the murmurs. There are reports that some BJP leaders may even take it up with the party a scenario if Shiv Sena opts to walk out. Though, on-record, BJP ministers rejected any such possibility.

The “probability of snapping ties” with the Shiv Sena would be discussed in a joint meeting of BJP ministers and party functionaries tomorrow, a top BJP leader told a news agency talking about the party meeting on October 15 to take stock of the government’s achievements in the last one year and ways of celebrating it.

“Though Sena is a part of the BJP government, both at Centre and in the state, it has not wasted even a single opportunity to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and the BJP,” one BJP state leader told the news agency PTI requesting anonymity.

“In the last few days, Sena has tried to blackmail the state government over Pakistan singer Ghulam Ali and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khurshid Kasuri,” the state leader added referring to the incidents of smearing black paint on Mr. Kulkarni for organising a book release event of Pakistan’s ex-minister Khurshid Kasuri and their threats leading to the cancellation of Pakistan music maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.

Ghulam_Ali2Both the incidents drew a widespread condemnation across the political and non-political sphere.

However, senior leader and state Education Minister Vinod Tawde rejected any possibility of Sena quitting power, and assured that the coalition government will complete its five-year tenure.

“Nobody wants to contest elections once again before completing their tenure. BJP and Sena will complete its five year tenure and nothing can affect the stability of the government,” Vinod Tawde told the press in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena too, on its part, termed the idea of quitting as “rumours” and said it will continue to be in power.

“Don’t believe in rumours or messages on social media which says that Sena will quit from the government. We will continue to be in power,” Ramdas Kadam, Shiv Sena leader and a minister in Maharashtra state government said dismissing the reports of any split in the alliance.

(With inputs from the PTI)