On the day when the Shinde-Fadnavis government completed three months in office, fissures surfaced between the Shinde camp and the BJP over the alliance in the upcoming rural and urban local body elections and also in the next assembly and Lok Sabha elections. This was evident when Agriculture Minister Abdul Sattar on Friday unilaterally announced that he was opposed to any alliance with BJP in his Sillod assembly constituency in Aurangabad district. On the other hand, Shinde camp legislator Pratap Sarnaik is reportedly unhappy over a proposal to leave his Majiwada-Owala assembly constituency in Thane district to BJP. Sarnaik reportedly had a verbal duel with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on this issue though both have said all is well.
‘’I don't want an alliance with the BJP in my constituency, instead, a friendly fight should take place. This is not only in my constituency but in all constituencies where the situation is sound a friendly fight should take place. Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde should discuss this. After being elected we will be together in the formation of a government,’’ said Sattar.
Sattar’s statement and Sarnaik’s displeasure may increase tension between the Shinde camp and BJP which are repeatedly declaring their resolve to win 200 plus in the next assembly elections in the state. The stand taken by Sattar and Sarnaik may put a break on BJP’s Mission 45 in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as similar demands may come up from MPs who have left Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to join the Shinde camp.
Further, Sattar’s statement and Sarnaik’s reported war of words with Shinde are important as a section of the Shinde camp fears that the BJP will play a dominant role which will impact their own identity in state politics. The issue is expected to be discussed during the Shinde camp after the Dussehra rally.
In the wake of the ongoing legal battle between the Thackeray faction and the Shinde camp over the poll symbol bow and arrow, Sattar claimed that for him the symbol is not important in the election. "Even if I am given a dog as a poll symbol, I will get elected," he claimed.
“I told Eknath Shinde that even if he gives me a dog symbol, I will get elected. A weak person needs something for support. I am a worker and a worker who never fears anything. No one can usurp the post of a worker. The post of MLA, MP, minister will go, some other posts will go, but the post of worker never goes,’’ said Sattar.