Mumbai, Feb 7 (IANS) A day after senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde claimed that Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena could be part of a future Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, the Sena snubbed him Monday saying its alliance decisions are taken only by party chief Bal Thackeray.
A Sena spokesperson declined comment on Munde’s suggestion, made at the BJP state unit’s working committee session in Aurangabad Sunday, saying there is “nothing to react” over it.
About any political alliances, the spokesperson said Munde should remember that all such decisions (on alliances) are taken not by him (Munde), but by Sena chief Thackeray and executive president Uddhav Thackeray.
Referring to Munde’s claim that the MNS had directly contributed to the defeat of the BJP-Sena alliance in the past Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the Sena spokesperson rejected the contention saying that the Sena-BJP alliance was capable of winning power on its own and so “there is no point in blaming anybody else for the electoral reverses”.
In his address Sunday, Munde had said that since the possibility of a single party coming to power was nearly impossible, it was imperative for like-minded parties to form an alliance and come to office.
Munde had also admitted that Raj Thackeray’s fledgling four-year-old party had impacted the results in 53 assembly constituencies by eating into the Sena-BJP votebank which helped the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance come to power for the third consecutive term in the state.
“It may be difficult to bring MNS into the saffron alliance, but nothing is impossible in politics. To make the impossible possible, you need a Gopinath Munde,” Munde said.
This is the second occasion in a couple of months when the Sena has dismissed outright the BJP’s overtures to the MNS.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had accepted an invitation from the state BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar and ‘dropped in’ Dec 20 to meet him at the party head office in the presence of his old friend Vinod Tawde, the state BJP general secretary.
Though Mungantiwar hurriedly clarified that it was only a courtesy call, the Sena reacted by threatening to boycott the National Democratic Alliance’s anti-corruption rally on Dec 22.
It relented only after top BJP leaders like L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Munde personally spoke to Uddhav Thackeray and mollified him.
Munde’s latest comments gain weightage in the backdrop of the February 2012 elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), for which preparations have begun in full swing.
This time, using the MNS factor to its advantage, the Congress-NCP is hoping to break the opposition alliance’s two-decade old stranglehold over the country’s richest civic body with a budget of over Rs.21,000 crore.
The MNS has already proved its relevance by making significant impact in civic elections in several urban conglomerates in Thane, Pune and Nashik districts in the past couple of years.