The Shiv Sena on Tuesday passed a resolution to go solo in the upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls as well as the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in 2019.
Sena leader Sanjay Raut moved the resolution at the party’s national executive committee meeting in Mumbai and it was passed unanimously. The party has pledged to win at least 25 seats (out of 48) in the Lok Sabha and 150 seats (out of 288) in state assembly.
“The BJP allied with the Sena in the name of Hindutva and the Sena kept patience for Hindutva. However, the BJP in the last three years has been demoralising the Sena and using power to do so,” Raut said at the meeting.
From time to time, Sena leaders have talked about ending the coalition. Back in December, Raut had signaled that the Sena and the BJP were on the verge of a split after youth wing head Aaditya Thackeray threatened to walk out of the Maharashtra government within a year. Party president Uddhav Thackeray too had hinted towards parting ways with the ruling party after being disgruntled with its failure to check rising prices of petrol and diesel.
The right-wing party shares an uneasy alliance with the BJP in the state and has been vocal in opposing some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies.
Cracks in the BJP-Sena alliance became apparent when the latter decided to contest the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls on its own strength. What followed was a bitter-fought campaign with allegations of corruption and incompetence flying back and forth. The Sena had emerged as the single largest party, bagging 84 seats in the 227-strong civic body as against the BJP’s tally of 82.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is set to be re-elected as there is no other nomination for the post, party sources said. Aaditya is viewed as Uddhav’s political heir and has led various student agitations at Mumbai University. There is speculation that he will be given more responsibility and will play a bigger role in the organisation.