Mumbai: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is expected to break his silence on his party’s turbulent relationship with coalition partner BJP and other important issues during his address to party workers at the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Dadar on Thursday.
Sources in the party said Uddhav is likely to speak on the recent controversies involving Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali and former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri besides the Shiv Sena’s stand on Pakistan and the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) polls, which is due on 1 November. The Sena and BJP are fighting the civic polls separately.
“Everything will be clear at the Dussehra rally. The party leadership will answer many questions that have been raised recently,” said a senior party functionary adding that he will also make the party’s stand clear regarding the partnership with Politics.
The simmering tension between the Sena-BJP was evident on Wednesday when the local Shiv Sena leaders put up a poster outside the party headquarters showing the picture of PM Narendra Modi bowing before the late Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray. While the Sena has distanced itself saying that it’s not an official poster and has removed it, Manohar Joshi, senior Sena leader and former chief minister has come out in defence of it.
“The party workers have given a message to the BJP through the poster. It clearly shows that anger among them over the humiliating treatment being meted to the party by the latter,” Joshi said.
The Sena has been raising the issue of ‘humiliating treatment’ after they joined the state government in December last. There were also reports about Sena ministers resigning from the Maharashtra cabinet. However, it has decided to wait for some time.
Tensions between the two parties increased when the Shiv Sena boycotted all the functions at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in Mumbai on 11 October. Uddhav was unhappy about getting the invitation for the prime minister’s only a day before the actual event. Sena leaders had slammed the BJP for not taking the Sena in confidence for the programme and taking all credit for the metro and Ambedkar memorial projects.
The Sena’s recent protests anti-Pakistan protests have widened the rift between the two allies. On Monday, the Sena activists barged into Board of Control for Cricket in India office in Mumbai and gheroed its chairman Shashank Manohar demanding cancellation of talks on Indo-Pak cricket series. Earlier, the Sena activists had thrown ink on the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, chiarman of ORF Mumbai, for organizing the book release event of the former Pakistan foreign minister Khursheed Kasuri. The Sena had also forced the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.
At present, the Sena has five cabinet and five state ministers in the Maharashtra state cabinet. However, BJP is the minor party in the cash-rich civic body of Mumbai.