The Shiv Sena on Thursday announced that it will not be contesting the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, but will “stand in solidarity” with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut made the announcement in a tweet, adding that the decision was taken after discussions with party chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
“Looking at the present scenario, it appears like a ‘Didi vs All’ fight,” Raut tweeted. “All ‘M’s – Money, Muscle and Media are being used against ‘M’amata Didi. Shiv Sena has decided not to contest West Bengal polls & stand in solidarity with her (sic)”.
Raut referred to Banerjee as the “real Bengal tigress” and wished her a “roaring success”.
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav announced that his party will also campaign for Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the lead up to the elections. He accused Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath of misleading the people of West Bengal by spreading “confusion and propaganda”.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has also pledged his support to the ruling party in West Bengal. He appealed to people from Bihar, living in West Bengal, to vote for Trinamool Congress.
The elections to the 294 seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be declared on May 2. The state will see a three-cornered fight between the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and an alliance between Left parties, Congress and the Indian Secular Front.