The controversy over whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had offered National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supria Sule a berth in his newly-reconstituted cabinet is nothing for BJP to be defensive about. With the Shiv Sena constantly bad-mouthing Modi and the BJP, the latter can hardly be faulted for looking for an alternative to Sena from Maharashtra.
Time and again, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has been causing acute embarrassment to the BJP which is its alliance partner by opposing its key policies like demonetisation of high value currency, the non-allotment of an additional berth in the Union Cabinet and on myriad other things. Uddhav and Shiv Sena have revelled in mocking at the BJP while continuing to be a junior partner in the coalition in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena leans on the BJP for survival in the municipal corporation in Mumbai but its acrimony towards Shiv Sena is open and vicious.
While Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says in the ‘Sena’ mouthpiece Saamna that Pawar had told him that Supriya Sule had indicated to Modi at a meeting between the three of them that she would be the last person to join the BJP, Ms Sule has flatly denied that she had any such meeting with Modi in the presence of her father Sharad Pawar and that she had said anything like this.
Uddhav Thackeray is peeved that the BJP does not give him the kind of mileage that he deserves as a coalition partner. Perhaps, that’s true. But can he force it out of the BJP especially when he is so scathing in criticizing Modi government’s policies. Uddhav can hardly lose track of the fact that the BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the electoral battle in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 separately after they parted ways and it was the first time the BJP was able to emerge much stronger. Again, in 2019, if the Shiv Sena ties with the BJP continue to be strained, such an eventuality may arise. Whatever the BJP may say, it is looking at an alliance with NCP if the alliance with Sena snaps again.