Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday asked if the BJP and NCP’s tie-up after the Maharashtra Assembly polls in 2019 was a “natural alliance”.
Raut’s remarks came after statements of some rebel Shiv Sena legislators that the party’s alliance with the NCP and Congress, to form government under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray (after the BJP-NCP government collapsed in three days in 2019), was an “unnatural” alliance and hurt the Sena.
After the Assembly polls in 2019, the Shiv Sena parted ways with long-term ally BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post. NCP leader Ajit Pawar subsequently joined hands with the BJP to form government.
BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was then sworn in as the chief minister and Pawar as his deputy at a hush-hush ceremony in the Raj Bhawan. But, Pawar returned to his party after three days and the Fadnavis government collapsed.
The Shiv Sena had then forged an alliance with the NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
‘There is nothing natural or unnatural in politics’
In his weekly column Rokhthok in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Raut said just like (Chief Minister) Eknath Shinde now, Ajit Pawar had rebelled in 2019 and formed government with Fadnavis.
The BJP legislators then did not say the NCP will finish off their party, he said.
“If the BJP-NCP alliance had continued, would it be called an unnatural alliance? There is nothing natural or unnatural in politics,” Raut said.
The Rajya Sabha member further said in 2014, when there was a delay in government formation, NCP leader Praful Patel had announced his party’s support to the BJP.
“Sharad Pawar shares a good equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP had then not reject the NCP’s support,” he said.
The rebel legislators like Deepak Kesarkar and Uday Samant, who have switched over to the Shinde camp on the issue of Hindutva, had joined the Shiv Sena with a “certificate ‘ from Pawar’s school, Raut quipped.
Kesarkar and Samant were in the NCP before they joined the Shiv Sena.
“Why should they hate the NCP so much? More than the issue of morality in politics, it is political selfishness,” Raut claimed.
‘Delhi has always pulled Maharashtra down’
Raut further claimed that Delhi (central government) never wants Maharashtra’s leadership to grow independently and has always pulled it down, be it formation of the ‘Sanyukta Maharashtra’ (in 1960) with Mumbai as its capital and the issue of inclusion of Belgaum and other places with Marathi-speaking population of Karnataka into Maharashtra.
“A split was engineered in the Shiv Sena because Delhi realised Uddhav Thackeray can emerge as a national leader in future,” he alleged.
After the revolt by Sena MLAs led by Shinde, the Thackeray government in Maharashtra collapsed last month.
On June 30, Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister and Fadnavis took oath as his deputy.
Raut claimed there is talk in the BJP that Fadnavis was forced to become the deputy CM in the Shinde government so that he does not rise at the national level.