Having parted ways after two and a half decades of partnership in the state, the Bharati Janata Party and the Shiv Sena face a strange dichotomy today. While both sides ended up almost at par contesting separately – the BJP at 82, two seats behind the Shiv Sena – rumours of a reunion have been gaining strength.
Today, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that there was ‘no option’ for the BJP and Shiv Sena other than joining hands for control of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
"The situation now is that both parties have no option but to come together again. The final decision on this issue has to be taken by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. Both are mature and I am sure they will take the right decision," he said.
"I feel leaders of both parties have to take a decision, showing sujh bujh (understanding) and maturity," Gadkari added.
Gadkari’s remark comes a day after the results of the BMC polls were declared. The BJP improved its 2012 BMC poll performance by leaps and bounds, winning 82 seats, just two less than Sena. Both the parties are short of the magic figure of 114 needed to control the civic body.
The two have also made it clear they won’t be taking support from Raj Thackeray’s MNS. The MNS had bagged 7 seats.
Meanwhile, after finishing neck-to-neck with BJP, Sena today received a shot in the arm with three independent corporators declaring support for the party, taking its tally to 87.
Further, Gadkari singled out Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' for its targeting of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
"If there has to be a friendship with us (BJP), then there has to be a check on the writings in Saamana. How will there be friendship when Saamana, on a daily basis, writes insulting things about the PM and our party president?" he said.
"I feel that had these things been avoided, there would not have been so much bitterness between BJP and Sena," Gadkari added.
Shiv Sena should take care that relations between the two parties should not deteriorate because of Saamana, he said.
Gadkari's remarks came a day after the BJP scored an emphatic win in the Maharashtra civic polls, emerging as the largest party in eight of the 10 municipal corporations, while finishing a close second to Shiv Sena in BMC elections.
The BJP also led the seat tally in elections to 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis in Maharashtra, which have traditionally been strongholds of Congress and NCP.