Addressing party cadres at Palghar near Mumbai, where Sena candidate lost to BJP’s nominee in the recent Lok Sabha by-election, Thackeray referred to the meeting on Wednesday and said, “Whatever is going on now is all drama”.
Shrinivas Wanaga, Sena’s candidate who lost, gave a “scare” to the BJP, Thackeray claimed. After the BJP sources on Wednesday termed the Shah-Thackeray meeting as “positive” and claimed it reduced the tension between the allies, Sena leader Sanjay Raut earlier on Thursday sought to dismiss “speculation” that the talks would culminate in an alliance for the next Lok Sabha polls.
Thackeray continued to attack the BJP, accusing it of using “all possible means” to win the by-poll. “A minimum of six lakh votes were cast against the BJP. I am not ready to accept the defeat, be it in a sporting way or any other way,” he said.
“If the Electronic Voting Machines malfunctioned due to heat, then what did they conduct (prior) tests on? Voters’ names were missing, there was bogus voting, machines malfunctioned, people were caught distributing cash. Is this called democracy?” Thackeray asked.
“There was no action even when the BJP used all possible means. It is, in a way, a defeat of the BJP,” he said. “One tribal boy (Shrinivas Wanaga) managed to get two and a half lakh votes in fifteen days (of campaigning). Now there are eight months left. In 2019, Shrinivas Wanaga should become the MP”, he said
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha chief Narayan Rane on Thursday targeted the Shiv Sena and dared the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party to walk out of the BJP-led NDA government in the state as it announced its decision to contest elections on its own.
“You talk about fighting polls without an alliance (with the BJP). Then why do you not let go of power? You criticise your ally while being part of the government. Contesting elections separately does not befit the Sena,” Rane said, addressing his party workers in suburban Bandra.
Rane, a Rajya Sabha member, said there were various challenges plaguing the state but no political party seemed interested in tackling them, hence, he had to form his own political party.
The former chief minister of Maharashtra further questioned if the Sena was formed for the welfare of Marathi-speaking individuals, why did the percentage of such people decrease in Mumbai. “Marathi people gave everything to the Sena but what did the party give back to them?” he questioned. “If the entire responsibility of governance is on the BJP, are you just there to sit and eat? he asked. Slamming the Congress, Rane said the party did not fulfil the promises it had made to the people.
In an apparent dig at former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was earlier a Union minister, Rane said the reins of the state were given to a person who knew nothing about the state. “I left the Congress because they kept making promises to me. After I quit the party, I had offers from parties including the Sena. However, I realised I had to form my own party if I wanted to give justice to my (party) workers,” Rane said as he exhorted his workers to start preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.