Indicating that all may not be well in the saffron alliance, the Shiv Sena has ribbed BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his speech at the rally in Mumbai.
The Sena has sarcastically said that despite Modi’s claims, Maharashtra leads in terms of development and pointed out that Gujaratis settled in Maharashtra are contributing to only Gujarat’s development.
Sources at the Sena said this sniping was reflective of the hidden differences and “ego clashes” between the Sena leadership and Modi. What may have made things worse is that Modi not only refrained from mentioning either the Sena or its late party chief Bal Thackeray in his speech, he also stayed away from visiting Matoshree to meet Sena president Uddhav Thackeray. On the contrary, BJP national president Rajnath Singh referred to late Bal Thackeray as a “mahanayak”.
Incidentally, Bal Thackeray had declared his support for Sushma Swaraj as BJP’s prime ministerial nominee instead of Modi. After Thackeray’s death, the BJP is seen to be gradually edging out the Sena to get into a dominant role in the saffron alliance and Modi has appropriated the Sena’s hardline Hindutva plank from the mild-mannered Uddhav.
“Modi must not worry about Maharashtra,” said an editorial on Tuesday in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which is edited by Uddhav and has Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut as the executive editor.
“Modi is running the government in Gujarat for 10-12 years. Even though the pace of development in Gujarat increased in this duration, Maharashtra is (still) ahead in development,” said the editorial, while referring to Modi’s statements about Gujarat overtaking Maharashtra.
It also took potshots at senior BJP leader and the then deputy CM Gopinath Munde for his unfulfilled promises regarding scrapping of the controversial Enron power project and arresting underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. It sarcastically mentioned that Dawood would be arrested and Maharashtra’s border dispute with Karnataka would be solved once Modi became the PM.
“Mumbai has a large number of Gujratis engaged in industry and trade and a large portion of their earnings is channelised to Ahmedabad, Surat, Kutch, Saurashtra and (hence) Mumbai contributes to the development of these (areas),” the editorial added.
“Modi in his speech attacked the Congress over black money in the country,” the editorial said, adding that “once Modi became the prime minister, he will surely fulfill the responsibility of bringing back heaps of black money from the Swiss banks.”