The Shiv Sena on Sunday took potshots at former ally Bharatiya Janata Party, and said Chhatrapati Shivaji was not the property of any party but belonged to all Maharashtrians. The BJP’s campaign had focussed on the Maratha king, which some political observers saw as an attempt to appropriate the legacy.
“Shivaji Maharaj is not confined to a caste or a party,” Raut said in his weekly column in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, according to PTI. “He belongs to all 11 crore people of Maharashtra. The BJP has been campaigning that it is the only party blessed by Shivaji Maharaj. Despite that, BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale, lost the Satara Lok Sabha byepoll.” Bhosale, a descendant of the medieval Maratha ruler, switched from the Nationalist Congress Party to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.
“Shivaji Maharaj taught us that Maharashtra does not tolerate arrogance and hypocrisy,” Raut added. “Whenever people take oath in the name of Shivaji Maharaj but do not keep promises, and start thinking of themselves as rulers of the state, then it is a sign of their downfall.” He also blamed the BJP for not beginning work on the Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea though neighbouring Gujarat built a memorial for Sardar Patel. The Shiv Sena was a part of the previous BJP government in Maharashtra.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena fought the October Assembly elections in alliance but couldn’t form government despite winning the most seats. They broke up as the BJP refused to agree to the Sena’s demand for an equal number of Cabinet portfolios, and the chief minister’s post for two and a half years. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party claimed that the BJP had agreed to the power-sharing deal in the run-up to the General Elections in April and May.
The Assembly election results were announced on October 24. The Bharatiya Janata Party had emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Sena, with 56 seats, came second, while the NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 constituencies.
President’s Rule was imposed on the state last week. The BJP had said it did not have the numbers to form government, after which the governor gave the Shiv Sena an opportunity to stake claim. The Shiv Sena also failed to get letters of support from Nationalist Congress Party and Congress. On Monday, the governor rejected Shiv Sena’s request for extra time to get letters of support and had invited the Nationalist Congress Party, the third largest party in the state, to stake claim to form government. However, hours before the deadline was to end on Tuesday, Koshyari recommended President’s Rule.
The Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena are currently in discussions to form government.