A Shiv Sena MLA has suggested that the party could once again join forces with the BJP to protect its leaders from being “harassed" by the government. Legislator Pratap Sarnaik, who is under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate for money laundering charges, wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, urging the former allies to reconcile, particularly in light of the numerous upcoming corporation elections, including those in Mumbai and Thane.
Sarnaik, who represents Thane’s Ovala-Majiwada constituency in the state Assembly, said that while the BJP and Shiv Sena are no longer allies, their leaders still have strong ties, which “we should make use of."
“Several central agencies are behind me and other Shiv Sena leaders like Anil Parab and Ravindra Waikar, and they and their families are being harassed," Sarnaik said in his letter, which reached the CMO on June 10.
“If the Shiv Sena and the BJP come together again, these leaders can be spared such harassment," he said, adding that Uddhav had met the PM, and that it was better to go back with BJP, as leaders of the both parties shared good relations.
“NCP and Congress want their own CM. Congress wants to contest alone and NCP is trying to break away leaders from Shiv Sena. There seems to be veiled support from the Centre, no central agency is behind NCP leaders," he said in the letter.
His letter further reads, “We believe in you and your leadership but Congress and NCP are trying to weaken our party. I believe that it will be better if you get closer to PM Modi. If we come together once again, it will be beneficial to the party and workers."
“It is better to join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again as Shiv Sainiks feel that would save the Sena leaders like me," he said. Notably, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had accused the three Sena leaders of indulging in corrupt practices.
Sarnaik, in his letter, did not name Somaiya, but said a leader “who has become a ‘former MP’ because of the Sena is maligning the party.
Sarnaik also claimed that Shiv Sena MLAs feel only the work of Congress and NCP legislators is being done and not of those from his party.
“Shiv Sena MLAs wonder whether the MVA has been formed, by breaking the alliance with the BJP, to help the Congress and NCP grow," he said.
Sarnaik also said in the letter that while CM Thackeray was focusing only on COVID-19 eradication, the Congress was talking of going alone in next elections and the NCP was busy “breaking" Shiv Sena workers and inducting them into the Sharad Pawar-led party.
Meanwhile, reacting to Sarnaik’s letter, Somaiya said the Sena MLA seems to be worried about jail now and so, he has asked CM Thackeray to join hands with PM Modi and the BJP.
“All corrupt leaders of the Shiv Sena - Pratap Sarnaik, Anil Parab, Ravindra Waikar - will have to be in jail," the BJP leader said in a statement.
Somaiya also said he had lodged a complaint at a police station in Thane about Sarnaik “missing" for last 100 days.
Responding to the development, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said party leadership will give the matter a thought only if Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray considers it.
“Pratap Sarnaik is a Shiv Sena leader and an MLA. He has written a letter to his party chief, calling for an alliance with BJP. The BJP leadership will consider the matter if Uddhav Thackeray also thinks along the same lines,” he said, the Indian Express reported.
According to Patil, if they (BJP) said anything positive about the alliance, the Sena mouthpiece Saamana ridicules them. “It says we are desperate for power,” he said.
He said Sarnaik had proposed what the BJP had been saying for 18 months. “This is an unscientific alliance (Sena, Congress and NCP). All his life, Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray fought Congress and NCP, and now Sena has struck an alliance with the same parties,” he said, the report states.