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Hours Before Amit Shah Comes Calling, Shiv Sena Mocks BJP Chief’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’

In an editorial published in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Shiv Sena said the general elections next year could be one of the “motives” behind Shah’s outreach programme.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:June 6, 2018, 8:27 PM IST
Hours Before Amit Shah Comes Calling, Shiv Sena Mocks BJP Chief’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’
File photo of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)

Mumbai: Hours before a crucial meeting between the leaders of the bickering allies, the Shiv Sena mocked BJP chief Amit Shah’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ drive, hinting at plans to go solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.

In a scathing editorial titled ‘Come, let’s play communication,’ published in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena said the general elections next year could be one of the “motives” behind Shah’s outreach programme. "The Narendra Modi government has lost its touch with those on its side and it is ideal for it to look for the reasons behind it,” the editorial said.

It also mocked the BJP’s “reliance on poster boys” to win elections, asking if the BJP chief would meet former ally and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu as part of his ‘Sampark for Samarthan’.

"Despite saam, daam, dand, bhed, Modi and Amit Shah are dreaming of winning 350 seats in Lok Sabha on their own steam. Modi and Shah are implementing an outreach and communication program at the international and national level. Their skills are highly appreciable."

Taking on the central government over the petrol rate hike and farmers' agitations across the country, the editorial said, "At a time when petrol prices have agitated the country and farmers are on strike, the government's dialogue with the farmer isn't happening."

The editorial has been published on a day when Uddhav Thackeray and Amit Shah are scheduled to meet in Mumbai in the aftermath of the Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha by-elections, for which the allies parted ways. The high voltage meeting has led to political speculation but the BJP tried to downplay it, saying that Shah is to meet many celebrities, industrialists and powerful people in the state.

The relations between the two partners plummeted to a new low when Shiv Sena 'hijacked' Shriniwas Vanga - the son of late BJP MP Chintaman Vanga from Palghar - and gave him the party ticket for the May 28 Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls. A raging BJP inducted former Congressman Rajendra Gavit, who defeated Vanga.

Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut pointed out how the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners were not satisfied with the BJP and leaving it one by one.

“Amit Shah called us, and sought an appointment of Uddhav ji. It is the culture of Matoshree to welcome guests. In the same spirit, Amit Shah was given an appointment. We don’t have any agenda. They may have some. We aren’t aware of it. But we have already made clear that we are going to fight 2019 elections on our own steam. That decision will not change,” he told CNN-News18.

The editorial asked if Chandrababu Naidu was also a part of this outreach programme of Amit Shah. “If Chandrababu Naidu is not available, then Jaganmohan Reddy is desperately willing to be part of this outreach,” it said.

It further took on the BJP’s handling of its ally in Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). “The biggest communication scam is actually in Bihar. The second, third honeymoons between BJP and Nitish Kumar seem to have ended. Nitish’s colleague K C Tyagi himself has accused the BJP of being careless towards its allies,” the editorial said.

“Now, Nitish Kumar has started questioning the note ban, after being supportive of it in the beginning. He had done a love marriage with BJP. But his popularity is dipping in Bihar due to this love marriage. Many in Bihar feel that aligning with BJP will lead to loss of popular support for them,” the editorial said.

With a year to go for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Shah has launched a new outreach programme which involves meetings and photo opportunities with eminent personalities across different fields. The campaign, called 'Sampark for Samarthan', is aimed at urging the eminent personalities to campaign for the BJP ahead of the elections and talk about the government's good work.

So far, Shah has met former army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, former cricket captain Kapil Dev, yoga guru Ramdev and former Chief Justice of India RC Lohati. On Wednesday, he is also scheduled to meet actor Madhuri Dixit, industrialist Ratan Tata and singer Lata Mangeshkar.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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