Thackeray targets PM, unsure whether Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will survive

Mumbai : Hitting out at BJP, its ally of 25 years barring a brief breakdown in late 2014, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said he could not predict whether their alliance in Maharashtra would survive for long.

Stressing that the Shiv Sena “never hankered for power” but would insist on dignity in any alliance, he asked his party workers to be vigilant and “remain prepared to go alone” in the upcoming major civic elections if required in future.

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“We fought the 2014 assembly elections separately and later even sat in the Opposition. After a month, we decided to join the government in the interests of Hindutva and the people of the state,” Thackeray said, addressing a huge gathering at the NSE Grounds, Goregaon, to celebrate the golden jubilee year of the party founded by his father, the late Bal Thackeray, on June 19, 1966.

He said the party wanted a “clear alliance, with dignity and self-respect”, or else it was meaningless to continue the partnership with BJP.

“I can’t say what will happen to the alliance. We must be prepared to fight the (2017) BMC (BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation) elections independently,” he said.

He declared that the Sena was not interested in snapping ties with BJP, “but we will not run after you like destitutes”.

“I will decide about the alliance when the time comes. But, next February-March, are you prepared to fight the civic elections,” he asked the crowd, which roared its approval.

Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sena president said the BJP claims the country is changing all around, “but the situation remains the same.”

“There is no change. Inflation has skyrocketed, nobody knows how much higher it will go. Though they are in power at the centre, they have not sent the displaced Kashmiri Pandits back home (Jammu & Kashmir). These Pandits came to us for help,” he said.

He added that the BJP “can’t even prevent Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, the state which gave them the maximum number of MPs”.

However, he said he only spoke the truth, but was accused of being critical of the BJP.

Earlier, he recounted highlights of the Sena’s history since its founding and said despite being labeled as a regional party, “we are original”.

“It was founded and built single-handedly by Balasaheb Thackeray. Its an original party, not by breaking away pieces from other parties to form a new outfit,” he asserted.