- Shiv Sena & BJP are at loggerheads ever since the former quit NDA & sided with rivals NCP, Congress
- The two parties ended their 25-year-old political friendship after 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls
- BJP has time and again flayed Sena for its decision, saying it compromised with Balasaheb's ideology
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has said that the country could have seen a Prime Minister from his party had they decided to contest elections from north India and not left the region for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"We took BJP from bottom to top in Maharashtra. After Babri, there was a Shiv Sena wave in Northern India, if we had fought polls at that time, there would have been our (Shiv Sena) PM in the country but we left it for them," Raut told news agency ANI on Monday. "BJP only uses Hindutva for power," he alleged.
The Sena leader's remark comes amid a war of words between the Shiv Sena and BJP after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that his party "wasted 25 years as part of an alliance with BJP".
Uddhav who heads an alliance government in Maharashtra, comprising Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, on Sunday said that he accepts the challenge thrown by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that Sena should contest elections on its own and targetted BJP over its "politically-convenient" Hindutva. Addressing Shiv Sainiks virtually on the 96th birth anniversary of the party founder and his father Bal Thackeray, Uddhav said that he still believes that 25 years the Sena had spent with BJP as an ally were "rotted".
The Sena will try to expand its footprint outside Maharashtra and aim for a national role, he added. He said the Sena had aligned with BJP for taking forward the agenda of Hindutva through power.
He said when BJP was growing politically, it aligned with several regional parties including Sena. At that time, BJP used to lose poll deposits in several places, he said, adding that Sena had aligned with BJP as it wanted power for Hindutva. "Sena never used Hindutva for the sake of power," Uddhav said.
Hitting back at Uddhav Thackeray, BJP leader and Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve said, "Shiv Sena cited Savarakar during campaign speeches in Dombivali. Is this a Hindutva party?... Today Uddhav Thackery is behaving the exact opposite of what Bala Saheb preached. He has joined anti-Hindutva parties in greed of power."
'We took bullets, where were you?'
"I challenge them (Shiv Sena) to just get a post tweeted for Balasaheb Thackeray, from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi with whom they are sitting. You only gave speeches during the Ram Mandir movement, we were the ones who faced bullets and sticks," BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis said.
BJP MLA Ram Kadam said that Uddhav needs to introspect whether his own party has been walking in the footsteps of its founder Bal Thackeray. “Before lecturing on Hindutva, Uddhav Thackeray should introspect whether Shiv Sena is following late Bal Thackeray's ideology, who had said that in politics and life, his party will never join Congress and if such circumstances arise, he would prefer locking up the party (office),” he said.
The Shiv Sena separated from the BJP-led NDA in 2019, ending a 25-year-long political partnership, after the Maharashtra Assembly Elections. It then joined the ranks with then arch-rivals Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar and Congress to form an alliance government in the state. Although the BJP and Shiv Sena had contested polls together and secured a comfortable majority, the Shiv Sena decided to exit after it was denied the CM's chair.