Mumbai: Squarely blaming the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena’s (SHSUBT) ‘duplicity’ for the breakup in the longstanding Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said it was Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s strategizing and firm support that helped the BJP win elections on its own in the State.
Referring to the first breaking up of the ties (after 25 years in alliance) between the two saffron partners before the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election, Devendra Fadnavis accused Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena for breaking ties with the BJP for “a mere four seats.” He said this while speaking in Mumbai during the launch of a booklet inspired by Amit Shah’s thoughts.
The BJP’s Deputy Chief Minister further stated that it was Amit Shah’s constant backing of the state BJP unit that helped in the smooth transition of power and the formation of the new government (Shinde-Fadnavis government) in June this year.
Fadnavis remarked, “We were ready to form an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election. We are also willing to fight on a lesser number of seats. But the Shiv Sena broke the alliance for a mere four seats. Suddenly, the BJP, which had been contesting only on 117-118 Assembly seats for years, was ready to fight on all 288 seats overnight. The only reason we could do this is because Amit Shah firmly stood by us.”
He said that the BJP could win an election in the State on its own for the first time (in 2014) and that Amit Shah had a lion’s share in this achievement.
“He (Amit Shah) stayed in Maharashtra for two-and-a-half months. He used to spend his days in the BJP party office and he taught us a number of things about elections,” said Devendra Fadnavis. He heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s leadership and organizational skills that helped the BJP score an emphatic win in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election held in February-March this year.
Despite the first schism, the BJP, which won 122 seats contesting independently in 2014 eventually formed the government with Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena and jointly contested the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election.
However, Uddhav Thackeray dumped the BJP after the election after the two parties fell out over the CM’s post, instead forming the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) government by allying with the ideologically opposed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
He credited Amit Shah’s ‘firmness’ in ensuring that the process for the formation of the new government, formed in June this year after Eknath Shinde’s revolt (along with 39 rebel Sena MLAs) split the Shiv Sena and toppled Uddhav Thackeray’s MVA, went without a hitch and helped countering the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena’s “dishonesty”.
Fadnavis added, “It was because Amit Shah constantly stood by us that the ‘original Shiv Sena’ (reference to CM Shinde’s Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, BSS) and the BJP could come together and form the government in Maharashtra. Amit Shah not only has leadership qualities but he holds the ability to deliver a decision in the right manner.”