The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said it will contest the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections as well as the Lok Sabha polls alone, not in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party passed a resolution to this effect – moved by Sena MP Sanjay Raut – at a national executive meet.
Meanwhile, the BJP also announced its decision to contest the election alone. “[We] just want to make it clear to the Shiv Sena that it will be ultimately damaging for you,” BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said.
The Shiv Sena has repeatedly criticised the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over the past year and often threatened to quit the alliance and contest the 2019 Assembly elections solo.
Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray also said the party would contest elections in every state “for the cause of Hindutva”.
Responding to the announcement, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told ANI that the government would complete its term in alliance with the Shiv Sena. “Let’s wait, they have been saying many things,” he said. “As of now, we are in alliance in the government...Shiv Sena and BJP will together complete the full term.”
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray was elevated to the post of a Shiv Sena neta at the meet in Mumbai’s Worli. He will now be a part of the Sena’s core leadership team.
In December 2017, Aaditya Thackeray had said that the Shiv Sena will leave the BJP-led government in Maharashtra within a year and come to power on its own. In November 2017, he had criticised the BJP government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in 2016 and asked why they were celebrating the first anniversary of the note ban.
Other Shiv Sena leaders, too, have been critical of the BJP government in Maharashtra. In October, Sena MP Sanjay Raut called the BJP the Shiv Sena’s “principal enemy” and said his party was part of the Maharashtra government “just for the sake of it”.