Mumbai/Nagpur: Piqued by barbs hurled by its saffron ally, the Shiv Sena in the aftermath of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in the Delhi polls, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that the Delhi debacle was not Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal defeat.
“If a gram panchayat election is lost, then does the blame solely lie with the village headman? Likewise, if the Shiv Sena loses a municipal election, then can Uddhav Thackeray be held responsible for the defeat,” asked Mr. Fadnavis, addressing the media in Nashik in North Maharashtra.
“It has been a tradition within our party to take jubilation in victory and the bitter taste of defeat with equanimity. We accordingly analyze any defeat and work our way towards victory. At the same time, many parties, not only the Sena, have been gloating at our performance in Delhi. I would merely like to say that such a state of affairs cannot last permanently,” said the Chief Minister, refraining from an acrimonious reply to the Shiv Sena’s jibes.
Moments after news of the Aam Aadmi Party and Arwind Kejriwal stunning victory trickled in, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, at a press conference, took potshots at its ally stating: “while talks had been going on about a Modi wave sweeping the country, the people of Delhi had shown that a tsunami is mightier than a wave.
In a veiled retort to the Sena, Mr. Fadnavis pointedly said that fair-weather friends anyway never partook of one’s sorrows.
The motif of Mr. Thackeray’s invective against his ally was reiterated in an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Wednesday which asks: “If this isn’t his [Mr. Modi’s] defeat, then whose is it?”
The editorial further rubs it in by stating that the people of Delhi ought to have used the broom (the AAP’s symbol) to sweep out the BJP out of office. Mr. Thackeray, who congratulated Mr. Kejriwal on his win, has even said he would attend the latter’s swearing-in ceremony if invited.
The comments have further charged the already bristling tension between the two saffron alliance partners at a time when Sena-BJP relations have hit nadir amid reports of the impending exit of a Sena minister from the State cabinet.