Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday refused to call ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a friend and said he was not obliged to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I’m fighting for the common man’s dream, not for (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s dream,” Thackeray said in an interview published in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana. The interview was published after BJP president Amit Shah asked his party leaders in Maharashtra to be prepared to contest Lok Sabha and state polls alone.
“I will hunt but don’t need to shoot from anyone else’s shoulder. Nor will I need a gun for the hunt,” Thackeray said. “We don’t have only one friend. We are friends of the public.”
The Shiv Sena made a series of flip-flops over the no-confidence motion against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government last week. Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, chief whip in the Lower House of Parliament, in a three-line whip on July 18 asked party lawmakers to support the NDA government during the Opposition’s no-trust motion on Friday.
However, Sena MPs on Friday walked out during the no-trust vote and didn’t support the government.
Thackeray, in the 50-minute interview, spoke about a range of issues: from Hindutva to women’s safety. “I don’t accept the Hindutva that is being adhered to in the country, for the last three-four years. That is the not our idea of Hindutva. Our women are unsafe today, and you are protecting the cows. You can’t target people for their eating preferences,” he said.
Thackeray was asked what made Sena continue with the BJP government in Maharashtra. “If their (BJP’s) Chanakyaneeti is acceptable, why not my style of politics,” he replied.
The Sena shares an uneasy relationship with the BJP since the 2014 Maharashtra elections, when it was riding on the ‘Modi wave’. The Sena claims that the BJP has poorly treated it since then.
BJP president Shah met BJP leaders in Mumbai on Sunday and is believed to have asked them to ensure the party’s victory in Lok Sabha and Maharashtra elections even if the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena unite against it.
He told BJP workers to prepare for elections without waiting for a decision on whether the saffron alliance will continue. The Shiv Sena made a series of flip-flops over the no-confidence motion against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government last week has made ties between the two.