The Maha Picture | Is Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘Not Your Enemy’ Statement #FriendshipGoal with PM Modi, BJP?


After Janata Dal United (JDU) Chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, is Uddhav Thackeray also tilting towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? This question has arisen in the minds of citizens and party workers after his recent statements in Konkan’s Sawantwadi.

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Thackeray, while addressing PM Modi, said: “Even today, we are not your enemy.”

Kumar’s exit was a big blow to the Opposition alliance, Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). The discussion in the political corridors of Delhi is that a few other alliance partners may also take the same stand just before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, citing seat-sharing or leadership issue. Given the scenario, in Maharashtra, all are banking on Thackeray, who is the only leader from the state taking an aggressive stand against PM Narendra Modi and the BJP. According to Maharashtra’s political circles, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are depending on the sympathy wave for Uddhav Thackeray.

THE STATEMENTS

This statement has given rise to speculation over whether he is again tilting towards the BJP.

At the same rally in Malvan, Thackeray said, “We were with you (BJP)… Shiv Sena (UBT) was with you. We campaigned for Yuti (Mahayuti), Vinayak Raut (from Shiv Sena UBT) and all (got) elected that time (2019 Lok Sabha polls) and only because of that you became Prime Minister. But later you distanced us from yourself.”

Although these statements look aggressive and one may say that Thackeray is still attacking the BJP and PM Modi, a few in the state think that Thackeray may be giving hints to the BJP leadership as there is no unity in the INDIA alliance and Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the Congress is not ready to compromise on seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections.

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NUMBERSPEAK

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, of the total 48 seats, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won 5, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 41, and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi (VBA) alliance won one seat. The party-wise share was the BJP at 23, Shiv Sena 18, NCP 4, Congress 4, AIMIM 1 and Independent 1.

The state saw assembly elections the same year, in which the BJP won 105 seats, Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44. The Sena then allied with the NCP and Congress to form the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). However, now the Sena and NCP have split, with the factions joining the BJP to form the state government. The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction has 13 MPs and 40 MLAs with it, while the rest are in the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) faction. In case of the NCP, the Ajit Pawar faction has the support of 1 MP and 41 MLAs.

THE PARTY & POTSHOTS

Shiv Sena MP from South Mumbai Arvind Sawant dismissed the narrative. “We have to understand that what Uddhavji said is true. We never distanced ourselves from them. We have to remember two statements regarding our past alliance with the BJP. Uddhavji had said, “We wasted our 25 years in the alliance with BJP.” And BJP chief JP Nadda had said, “There will be only one party in the nation.” So in such a scenario, whatever assumption the media is trying to build is incorrect. Uddhavji has neither softened his stand nor does he want an alliance with the BJP again.”

Thackeray, in his speech, also took potshots at PM Modi. “PM Modi didn’t come to Konkan during natural calamities which happened in the recent past. The Centre gave no help to Konkan.”

He further criticised PM Modi who visited Malvan Fort last year in a submarine project went to Gujarat from Sindhudurg in Maharashtra. “He has been frequently visiting Maharashtra. I fear, whenever he comes, he will take something from that place to Gujarat.”

Although Thackeray had made a few statements that may sound like he has softened his stand towards PM Modi, Shiv Sena (UBT) is confident that there will be no alliance with the BJP in the current scenario.

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Many Shiv Sena UBT leaders who don’t wish to come on record said the BJP broke the Shiv Sena, personal allegations were levelled against Thackeray, and even his son Aaditya is being harassed by making false allegations against him. Still, Thackeray has not kneeled in front of the Central government. During the Covid-19 situation, Thackeray took care of the Maharashtra as the head of the family, when no great help was received from the Centre. So it is not possible for a person who is vocal against the BJP, to join them.

As they say, it is difficult to predict anything in politics, especially after Kumar’s exit proved that one plus one is not always two.





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