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'We are Fighting a Lonely Battle': Day Before Voting, Shiv Sena's Stinging Attack on Ally BJP

Senior leader Sanjay Raut questioned why PM Modi and Amit Shah had to hold over 40 rallies in Maharashtra if the BJP thought there was no challenge from the Opposition.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18@vinivdvc

Updated:October 20, 2019, 11:44 PM IST
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'We are Fighting a Lonely Battle':  Day Before Voting, Shiv Sena's Stinging Attack on Ally BJP
File photo of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena is yet again in a combative mood and again against its own ally, the BJP. Just a day before the crucial assembly elections, it has warned that the geography of Maharashtra should not change after October 24 when the counting of the votes will be conducted.

“History can change in the next 24 hours, but the geography should not change. That is why the Sena has been fighting like a sole warrior. The chief minister says there is no challenge for us and yet Narendra Modi and Amit Shah held 40 rallies here,” senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in his weekly column ‘Rokhthok’ in Saamana on Sunday.

In his opinion column, Raut questioned why PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had to hold over 40 rallies in Maharashtra if the BJP claimed there was no challenge to it from the Opposition. He warned that the move of poaching so many Congress and NCP leaders may backfire considering Maharashtra’s "history of rebellions and fierce warriors".

Taking a jibe on the BJP over the predominance of national issues during poll campaigning, Raut said, “2019 State Assembly elections are different. Never had national issues like Article 370 and Ram Mandir figured so prominently in the state elections as they did this time. That does not mean that all the problems that Maharashtra faced have been solved in the last five years. But now, elections are fought on emotional issues and not on real issues. A leader like Sharad Pawar did not approve of Article 370 and Ram Mandir being turned into poll issues in Maharashtra. Modi and Shah only spoke about those issues. On the other hand, Uddhav Thackeray talked of meal in Rs 10, medical tests in Re 1, Rs 10,000 to each farmer. Somebody needs to speak on people's issues. CM Fadnavis ruled for five years. His government remained stable for all these years. But what did he give to the state? Tomorrow, the electorate will give that answer.”

Taking a dig at the BJP further, Raut said that only two leaders’ rallies were immensely popular in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. “Pawar toured the entire state, rallying against Modi, Shah and Fadnavis. The BJP tore apart his party at the cusp of elections. That's why the 80-year-old leader stood again to rebuild his party. It must be remembered that those who jump ships are not accepted easily by the people. They can't win elections easily. They are opportunists. There can be anger against such opportunists who left the Congress and the NCP too.”

He warned that the move to poach leaders may backfire for the BJP. “In the political history of Maharashtra, maximum leaders have changed parties this time. The policy of including the entire opposition in one's party to slay the opposition can backfire because the tradition in Maharashtra is that of rebellion and fighting.”

Talking about the poll atmosphere in Maharashtra, he also asked why the national leadership had to camp in Maharashtra if Fadnavis felt there was no challenge to the BJP in the upcoming polls. “The atmosphere is positive for our alliance. CM says there is no opposition to fight with. But there is a challenge. That is why Narendra Modi and Amit Shah had to 10 and 30 rallies, respectively. Why did the CM himself hold 100 rallies? Sharad Pawar asked this question. And I don't think it is wrong. The battle of Maharashtra is big. That is why Delhi's leaders have been camping here.”

“Even after staying in this alliance, we are fighting a lonely battle. This warrior is fighting so that nobody can change the geography of this state after October 24 on the basis of majority. Maharashtra will remember this,” Raut said.

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