Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Wednesday denied Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan's claim that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party approached the Congress after the 2014 state polls to form a coalition to keep the BJP out of power, saying such a proposal had "no value" at that time.
The Sena, however, also said that its tie-up with the Congress and NCP after the last year's Assembly elections materalised because NCP chief Sharad Pawar did not allow "BJP's political machinations" to succeed and Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not reject the alliance proposal.
Taking to PTI earlier this week, senior Congress leader Chavan claimed the Shiv Sena proposed to form a coalition with his party and the NCP after the 2014 state polls to stop the BJP from coming to power. But, the Congress then immediately rejected the proposal, he said.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' on Wednesday rejected the claim, saying the Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress and NCP contested the 2014 state Assembly polls separately.
"There is no logic in what Chavan has said. The claim should have evaporated in Mumbai's mild winter breeze. The Shiv Sena and NCP didn't take the claim seriously. But, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis criticised the Shiv Sena, saying Chavan had exposed the party," it said.
Fadnavis, who is now leader of opposition in the Assembly, on Monday said Chavan's remarks were very surprising and revealed the "true face" of the Shiv Sena, which in November last year formed government in the state along with the Congress and NCP.
The Sena said in the four-cornered contest to the 288-member state Assembly in 2014, the BJP got 122 seats, the Shiv Sena bagged 63, while the Congress and NCP 42 and 41 seats, respectively.
The Congress was relegated to the third position. Under Chavan's leadership, the party had "lost miserably and had no voice", it noted.
"There was no question of approaching the Congress for government formation. The Shiv Sena had made up its mind to be in the opposition," it said.
Notably, after the 2014 polls, BJP ran the government but later the Thackeray-led party also joined it.
The Shiv Sena in its editorial recalled that after the 2014 polls, NCP leader Praful Patel offered his party's support to the BJP.
This exposed the "real face" of the BJP which had snapped ties with the Shiv Sena before the Assembly polls, it claimed.
"Even if the three parties had come together, the tally would have been very close to the majority mark (of 145). This was dangerous and the BJP would have tried to pull down the government," the Marathi publication said.
After the last year's state polls, the BJP has to sit in the opposition despite getting 105 seats as the "masks on its face continue to come off", the Shiv Sena claimed without elaborating.
"This time, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi took shape because Sharad Pawar did not allow BJP's political machinations to succeed and Sonia Gandhi did not reject the alliance proposal. In 2014, such a proposal had no value," the Sena said.