Mumbai:The rift in the National Democratic Alliance widened with the Shiv Sena deciding to skip project inaugurations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday as payback for a similar snub by the BJP during a ground-breaking ceremony by Uddhav Thackeray.
Modi is slated to launch infrastructure and housing projects worth about Rs 41,000 crore in the state, beginning with laying the foundation stone for the Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Metro-5 and Dahisar-Mira Bhayander Metro-9 at Kalyan. Modi will then proceed to Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone for the third Metro line between Hinjewadi and Shivajinagar.
During the visit, Modi is also scheduled to release a book titled Timeless Laxman based on the life and little known facets of legendary cartoonist, the late RK Laxman.
While Shiv Sena leaders have been extended invitations to the events in Kalyan and Pune, sources said they are likely to give the ceremonies a miss since the BJP boycotted Sunday’s ‘bhumi-pujan' by Uddhav Thackeray for a Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project in Mumbai.
The relations between BJP and Shiv Sena have been uncomfortable at best with the saffron party’s recent electoral losses giving more room to Thackeray to flex his muscles in the alliance ahead of general elections. Political observers have said that the Sena may also be mulling snap Assembly polls in Maharashtra to capitalise on the BJP’s losing streak.
Congratulating Congress chief Rahul Gandhi over his party’s win in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, Sena mouthpiece Saamana had said the states were now ‘BJP-mukt’.
The scathing editorial had accused the BJP of first defeating friends, and now losing crucial Hindi-belt states. "While the economy floundered, farmers suffered, unemployment soared, inflation skyrocketed, and all the time, Modi was busy indulging in high-flying global affairs,” it said.
In the run-up to the general elections, Uddhav Thackeray has also attempted to wrest the Hindutva narrative from the BJP, attacking the ally in Ayodhya for not fulfilling its 2014 poll promise of constructing a Ram Temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.