The Shiv Sena on Wednesday mocked the Bharatiya Janata Party’s outreach programme “Sampark for Samarthan”, and reiterated that it would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections alone. The Sena’s attack on its alliance partner in Maharashtra comes on a day when BJP President Amit Shah is set to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai.

The Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a world tour, and Shah on a national one, as part of the BJP’s “global outreach programme”.

The editorial wondered why Shah had chosen to begin his outreach programme soon after the saffron party lost several bye-elections to state Assemblies and the Lok Sabha. “The Shiv Sena showed its strength in the Palghar bye-poll,” the editorial declared. “In such a situation, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls can be one reason for Shah’s outreach programme.” Though the Shiv Sena lost the Palghar Lok Sabha bye-poll, in which it had put up a candidate against the BJP, it increased its vote share in the area.

“The BJP has lost sampark [contact] with the people of India, and it should introspect why it has happened,” the editorial said. The Shiv Sena said that unlike the BJP, it does not need “poster boys” to win elections.

The editorial also ridiculed Shah’s aim of the BJP winning 350 seats in the 2019 elections.