The Shiv Sena on Sunday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party why its senior leaders campaigned for the Maharashtra Assembly elections even though Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed there was no Opposition left to challenge the ruling alliance, PTI reported. This came a day after the campaign concluded.

The Shiv Sena is contesting 124 of the 288 Assembly seats while the saffron party and other allies are contesting the rest. The state will go to the polls on Monday and the votes will be counted on Thursday.

“The chief minister has been asserting that the Opposition ‘does not exist’ any more in the poll campaign,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut wrote in a column in party mouthpiece Saamana. “The question then arises about the motive behind some 10 rallies of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi, 30 of [Union Home Minister] Amit Shah, and Fadnavis himself holding 100 rallies across Maharashtra.”

He pointed out that similar questions were also raised by Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar. On Wednesday, Pawar had said the elections were not a one-sided fight. “I do not understand that if it is a one-sided fight, why is the prime minister addressing nine public meetings here?” Pawar asked. “Why is the Union home minister addressing 20 meetings? Why are they spending so much time here?”

Raut claimed that even though Fadnavis himself was not facing any strong Opposition challenge “in reality there is electoral challenge, which forced the BJP leaders to hold so many rallies”. Raut said party leader Aaditya Thackeray’s decision to contest elections would change the state’s “political dynamics” in coming years. He is the first member of the Thackeray family to contest an election. “He is contesting elections not to just sit in the Assembly, but the new generation wants him to lead the state,” Raut added.

The Shiv Sena leader said the party campaigned about the problems faced by people. “The Shiv Sena has promised a full meal at Rs 10 for the common man and medical check-up at Re 1,” Raut wrote. “There should have been someone in the campaign to speak on issues of the state and the common man. What Fadnavis has done for the state in last five years is going to be tested tomorrow.”

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