Mumbai: With just a day left for counting of votes in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, which ran an aggressive campaign against the BJP, has softened its stance suggesting its desire to patch up with its estranged ally in a post-poll scenario.
There should be “no bitterness or the need to have arguments,” even though “hearts have been broken,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamna, on Friday.
The editorial adds, though it might be difficult to mend broken hearts — a reference to the BJP’s “back-stabbing” the Sena by splitting with it — the state needed “stability” and peace.
Though the BJP is confident it will form the government on its own, party leaders have also hinted that if needed it could be open to a post-poll alliance with its “natural ally,” the Sena. BJP has dismissed the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the NCP.
Vinod Tawde, former Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, said the BJP and the Sena’s disagreements were only on the issue of seat-sharing. The two parties were “not ideologically different,” he said.
Pankaja Munde, daughter of the late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, also expressed her willingness to broker a deal with the Sena if needed.
“If needed, I am willing to negotiate with the Sena,” said Ms. Munde, whose father often steered negotiations between the former allies in both Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
Throughout the campaign, the Sena had lambasted the BJP and its president Amit Shah, dubbing him an invader. The bitterness reached its crest when the Sena unleashed a diatribe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his background.
This has caused annoyance within the BJP ranks, with many senior leaders unhappy with any post-poll option with the Sena. “Do we need to wait for the Sena to abuse Mr. Modi openly to decide on ditching them for good?” asked a senior leader.
Meanwhile, Ms. Munde has hinted that she was open to taking up the CM’s post if her party was voted to power. “It is not only my father’s supporters, but also the youth that want me to be the chief minister,” Ms. Munde said. This comes even as BJP State president Devendra Fadnavis is considered the party’s first choice for the post.
Ms. Munde, however, clarified, that she did not work to be a CM but if her name was taken up she would honour it. She dismissed ideas that Mr. Modi’s opposition to dynasty politics would prove a hurdle in her taking up the CM’s position. “I didn’t take my father’s post,” she said.