The Shiv Sena was virtually treated as “slaves” and attempts were made to finish off the party politically when it was in power with the BJP in Maharashtra from 2014 to 2019, Sena Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut has alleged.
Addressing Sena workers in Jalgaon in north Maharashtra on Saturday, Mr Raut said, “The Shiv Sena had a secondary status in the previous government and was (treated) like slaves. Attempts were also made to finish off our party by misusing the very power which was enjoyed because of our support.”
Mr Raut’s remarks came days after Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi separately, setting off political speculations in the state.
The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance crumbled in 2019 over the issue of chief ministership. The Sena, which was one of the oldest allies of the BJP, later formed an unlikely alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.
Mr Raut said he always thought that the Sena should have its chief minister in Maharashtra. “Even if Shiv Sainiks don’t get anything, we can proudly say the state’s leadership is now in the hands of the Shiv Sena. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was formed with this sentiment (in November 2019),” he said.
Recalling the drama preceding the formation of the tripartite government in November 2019 after the Assembly elections, Mr Raut said senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who briefly switched sides to form a government with the BJP under Devendra Fadnavis, is now the “strongest spokesman” of the MVA. The second -led government, which was formed with Ajit Pawar, had lasted for just 80 hours.