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May 24, 2018
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don’t want it if Sena doesn’t, says BJPDisregard of its overtures by Shiv Sena piques BJP

Mumbai: Apparently exasperated with alliance partner Shiv Sena for not agreeing to share seats in the Assembly elections, due next year, the BJP said it won’t press for an electoral alliance if the Sena isn’t interested.

State Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar told reporters on Friday that his party isn’t in favour of severing ties with the Sena. “If the Sena has no interest in forming an alliance with the BJP, then there is no question of us raising the issue with them.” Sources said a scheduled meeting between Mr. Mungantiwar and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to mend fences has fallen through as well.

While addressing Shiv Sainiks in Aurangabad on Thursday, Mr. Thackeray said there won’t be an alliance with the BJP, and stressed on the party contesting the elections on its own. Despite the Sena’s stand, the BJP has made several attempts at renewing the electoral alliance that the parties shared for 25 years before parting ways ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections.

The already-strained relations came under further pressure on Friday when BJP Mumbai City chief Ashish Shelar accused the Sena of trying to scuttle the Coastal Road project by opposing the appointment of a Project Management Consultant (PMC) at a recent BMC Standing Committee meeting. “BJP ensured that all 17 permissions from the Centre necessary for the Coastal Road project were approved in record time. When it came to appointing the PMC, the Sena opposed it in the Standing Committee. Are there any ulterior motives, or does the Sena not want citizens to get facilities?”

On Thursday, Mr. Thackeray criticised the government plan to hold the State legislature’s monsoon session in Nagpur. Mr. Mungantiwar said, “Let them (Sena) oppose it if they want to. If the State’s financial year is changed from April-March to January-December, then the winter session in Nagpur will also be the budget session for the 2019-20 financial year.”