New Delhi, Aug 10: Amid blow hot and blow cold relationship and seeking to iron out the differences between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up BJP ally and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to thank him for lending support to NDA candidate Harivansh for crucial election to the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.
Described as a rare gesture, this has been second sincere attempt from the BJP top leadership to reach out to its disgruntled but oldest ally.The Prime Minister's phone call to Sena chief came days after BJP president Amit Shah personally reached out to Thackeray on August 7 and sought support for JD(U) leader Harivansh, who defeated UPA nominee B K Hariprasad.
Sena's decision to support JD(U) candidate Harivansh came within 19 days since July 20's No Trust debate when Sena stayed away from the debate and voting. There is an apparent compulsion on both sides to stick together. Sena's robust 'pro-Hindutva' inclination makes it difficult for the Maharashtra based outfit go a long way alongside parties like Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and for that matter even the Congress.
Shiv Sena knows it is 'ideologically aligned' with the BJP and in recent weeks found it amazing the manner Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties opposed the NRC exercise in Assam. Sena has been always known for its clear and rather unambiguous anti-Bangladeshi immigrant stance.
On the other hand, the BJP too cannot dump Shiv Sena as long as Thackeray's party enjoys a firm grip of support mass level across Maharashtra, "If Hindutva is a mother-like phenomenon, Shiv Sena is like blood relation ally. Why should we discard them? a senior BJP leader from Maharashtra has said on July 21 - a day after the No Trust Motion.
The source maintained that there are compulsions for the BJP as Sena continued to have "strong presence at the ground level" in the western state. "This fact cannot be underestimated". But there are still issues those need to be addressed both at the national and state levels between the two parties.
"We abstained from voting during the no-confidence motion as we wanted to give a clear message about our unhappiness. It will be wrong to say we are with the opposition parties," a Sena leader said. The two allies had also fought the bypolls separately in Maharashtra’s Palghar region and after its debacle, the Sena had referred BJP as its “biggest political enemy”.
Shiv Sena has also time and again said that it will not mind contesting forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls alone. UNI