In a stern message to its alliance partner, Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the BJP central leadership warned against crossing the ‘laxman rekha’ or trying to undermine the party’s senior leader and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, sources said. .

“The senior leadership of the BJP in Delhi has sternly informed Shinde of its displeasure with the full-page ad published on Tuesday by Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister of Maharashtra, which shows Shinde as more popular than Fadnavis,” a senior source in the state party said. Bharatiya Janata Newspaper for Indian Express.

the A full page ad appeared Across all newspapers in the state on Tuesday. The ad with the slogan “Modi For India, Shinde For Maharashtra. A dream team is loved by all” cites a survey indicating that Shinde is the most preferred CM, supported by 26 per cent of people, followed by Fadnavis, which was supported by 23.2 per cent .

Pulled back by the BJP central leadership, the BJP Central Command made another announcement in the newspapers, this time with photos of Fadnavis and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In the new ad, the comparison between Shinde and Fadnavis has been removed. Instead, it shows that BJP and Shiv Sena, taken together, are favored by 46.4 percent of the people. The opposition has 34.6 percent and the others 19 percent in the popularity ratings. Sources said the damage control, within 24 hours, came on the heels of a sharp rebuke from the central BJP leadership, especially Shah and party chief JB Nada.

The announcement made on Tuesday where Shiv Sena drew comparisons between Shinde and Fadnavis was not in good taste. It certainly hurts the feelings of the BJP leaders and workers. Obviously, it was a mischief by someone. But today’s announcement shows that they recognized the error and corrected it. “As far as the BJP is concerned, it is a closed chapter,” BJP President Chandrashekhar Pawankul said on Wednesday.

Although the party’s state leadership directed its cadres to put the incident behind them, grumbling continued. Anil Bond, Member of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha, said, “A frog cannot become an elephant, no matter how hard it tries. Even if it fills itself with tons of air, it will remain a small frog. It cannot become huge and strong like an elephant.”

The ridicule was aimed at Shinde, who in the previous ad had tried to show herself as more popular than Fadnavis.

“When the BJP formed an alliance with Shinde’s faction in June last year, it took the decision to reward him with the post of chief minister. The decision upset BJP leaders and cadres in Maharashtra who were keen to see Fadnavis in the position of party director,” said a BJP source. .

But the central leadership of the BJP took the decision to deliver a loud message to its coalition partners. and to separate alliance partner Uddhav Thackeray.”

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the BJP believes that it cannot face the political challenge alone and will have to rely on Shinde Sena. However, Shinde’s performance in the past 11 months has fallen short of BJP’s expectations, according to the poll’s strategists.

A senior BJP cabinet minister said, “When we formed an alliance with Shinde’s faction, we knew his political limitations. But we entrusted him with the main task of weaning the ‘Sainak’ on the grassroots level of Udhav loyalists. Although Shinde managed to get 40 out of 56 MLAs and 13 out of 19 MPs are in his fold, yet Uddhav’s support base remains intact.”

On the other hand, by placing Fadnavis in the second position, the BJP has also made it clear that they do not want to compromise on good governance in Maharashtra.

Another aspect that has come to the fore is that the BJP is aware that it will have to lead in the 2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls over ‘Moditva’. Accordingly, extensive preparations began. In its internal meetings, BJP leaders urged party workers to ensure that the party won 150 seats on its own. Besides the Xindi faction, more than 200 seats. The state legislative assembly has 288 seats. The midway mark for the formation of the government 145 seats. The BJP’s focus on exceeding the magic number on its strength has the Shinde faction on high alert. She fears that if the BJP wins the majority on its own, its importance will decline.

Not surprisingly, in a meeting convened by Shinde two days ago, senior MP Shiv Sena Gajanan Kirtikar said, “We have to show the collective strength of 40 MLAs. We have to make it clear to the BJP that they are in the government because of us. Had we not made the revolution, the MVA would have not Still ruling. The Bharatiya Janata Party was in opposition.”

The increasing emphasis from the Shinde faction has become frequent. Earlier, Kirtikar said, “Shiv Sena will not accept anything less than 22 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.” There are 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

Since differences are likely to arise frequently until the seat-sharing formula is finalized, the BJP central leadership will have to step in to sort things out.


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