In rebuttal to Prithviraj Chavan on 2014 govt formation claim, Shiv Sena jabs BJP for ‘mask factory’

The Shiv Sena on Wednesday dismissed the claim made by Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party had proposed to form government with Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in 2014. The party also attacked the BJP, saying the 2014 assembly polls had revealed the “true face” of its former ally which had snapped 25-year-old ties with Sena before the election then.

On Sunday, Chavan had said that after the 2014 Maharashtra polls, Shiv Sena and NCP had approached him to form a coalition government to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party. But the Congress had rejected the demand immediately.

An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Wednesday, however, said that there is no “logic” in Chavan’s claims. “The Congress faced a drubbing in the 2014 election under the leadership of Prithviraj Chavan. The Congress then did not have a ‘voice’. The question of going to Chavan with the proposal to form a government does not arise,” the editorial said.

In the four-cornered contest to the 288 -member state Assembly in 2014, the BJP got 122 seats, the Shiv Sena bagged 63, while the Congress and NCP 42 and 41 seats, respectively. The Congress was relegated to the third position.

Following the claims of Chavan, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, now Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, said the Congress leader’s statement was very surprising and revealed the “true face” of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, which in November last year formed the government in the state along with Congress and NCP.

The Saamana editorial hit out at the BJP, saying it “cruelly broke off the alliance with Shiv Sena”.

“In 2014, the true face of BJP was exposed which the whole country saw… without thinking about Hindus, division of Hindu votes, relations of 25 years, the BJP cruelly broke off the alliance with Shiv Sena. This was the first mask of BJP that came off,” the Sena said.

After the state election five years ago, BJP initially ran the government alone but later the Thackeray-led party also joined it.

The editorial in Sena mouthpiece added that the BJP has multiple masks on it face as it has a “factory of manufacturing masks”. “NCP’s Praful Patel came forward and extended unconditional support to BJP to form the government. Here, the second mask of the BJP came off. It can be safely said that all these things were planned in advance. When all this was unfolding, the Shiv Sena was not hiding behind any mask,” it further added.

Referring to the recent assembly election and its aftermath, the Sena said that despite attempts, Sharad Pawar did not let a repeat of 2014 happen in 2019. “The same Sena that was in 2014 is still here. Despite having 105 [legislators], they had to sit in the Opposition because the masks that the BJP wear are unending. They say one thing and do another.”