The Shiv Sena on Sunday sought to know why top BJP leaders held so many rallies for the Assembly polls, when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis feels there is no Opposition left in the fray to challenge his party-led alliance.
In a column in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, the party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut also claimed that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya’s poll plunge will change the State’s “political dynamics” in coming years.
Hinting at the waning strength of the Opposition, Mr. Fadnavis had recently said there was no “wrestler” left in the fray to challenge the BJP-led alliance.
“The CM has been asserting that the opposition ‘does not exist’ any more. The question then arises about the motive behind some 10 rallies of (Prime Minister) Modi, 30 of (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah, and Mr. Fadnavis himself holding 100 rallies across Maharashtra,” Mr. Raut said.
The same question is being raised by NCP chief Sharad Pawar as well, which is not wrong, he said.
“Though Mr. Fadnavis said he is not facing any opposition challenge, in reality there is electoral challenge, which forced the BJP leaders to hold so many rallies,” Mr. Raut, the Marathi daily’s executive editor, claimed in his column ‘RokhThok’.
On Aaditya Thackeray, Mr. Raut said, “he is contesting elections not to just sit in the Assembly, but the new generation wants him to lead the State.”
Mr. Raut also said his party is in the electoral fray to keep intact the State’s “geographical boundaries”. In the election campaigns, Mr. Fadnavis said the demand for Vidarbha state is the “BJP’s principled stand”.
The CM said his party feels there should be smaller states, but when to take decision on this is up to the central leadership. The Sena has been opposing separate statehood for Vidarbha.
Mr. Raut said issues like the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir and demand for Ram temple in Ayodhya were for the first time raised during Maharashtra polls campaign, a move opposed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.