Mumbai: In another attempt to damage the Bharatiya Janta party (BJP) the Shiv Sena has announced it will contest 40 Assembly seats in BJP’s stronghold state, Gujarat. A team of Shiv Sainiks under the leadership of Rajul Patel, a councillor from Versova, will head to Gujarat on Thursday to assess the political situation and identify the seats to be contested. Another Shiv Sena leader Hemraj Shah will accompany her.
“We will field candidates between the belt of Surat and Rajkot,” Patel told The Free Press Journal. “In this area, Marathi voters have a sizable presence. We will concentrate on them.” Patel claimed the decision to contest the Gujarat Assembly election is not a sudden thought but a well-planned strategy. “Shiv Sena has existence in those areas. We can influence the voters to make a change,” she said.
Patel, however, clarified that Shiv Sena will not enter into an alliance with any other party. “We have good relations with Hardik Patel. Of course, a final decision in this regard will be taken by Uddhav ji only,” she said. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has appointed his man Friday Anil Desai, a member of Rajya Sabha, to supervise the party’s Gujarat mission.
“Our target is to stop juggernaut of Modi-Shah duo. We can go to any extent to achieve it,” an insider said. The party sees it an opportunity to damage the BJP in Gujarat in wake of public outcry against the Union government on social media. In 2007, Shiv Sena had become a reason for defeat to BJP in three constituencies. It hopes it can increase the number this time.