The Shiv Sena and BJP are linked by the “bond of Hindutva” but newcomers like Narayan Rane spoiled the relations between the two parties, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said here on Friday.
Veteran BJP leaders such as Devendra Fadnavis or Chandrakant Patil never used violent language about the Sena, and the two parties were together for 25 years before falling out in 2019, he added, while hitting out at Union minister Narayan Rane who joined the BJP in 2019.
Earlier this week, Mr Rane, a former Sena leader himself, sparked off a row with his remark about slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray for what he claimed as the latter’s ignorance of the year of India’s independence.
His remarks led to protests across the state and Mr Rane was arrested on Tuesday before getting bail a few hours later.
“BJP and Shiv Sena had difference of opinion over some issues, but our relationship never turned bitter. The leaders who joined the BJP in the last few years have spoiled the relationship. Their notoriety is similar to that of Bangladeshi and Pakistani infiltrators who disturb our social harmony,” Mr Raut told reporters.
“We (Sena and BJP) never attacked each other or had such a bitter relationship. The way Narayan Rane is acting, he is displaying animosity. What kind of person the BJP has appointed to improve our relationship,” he added.
The Shiv Sena was with the BJP for 25 years and the relations between Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well as L K Advani were cordial, Mr Raut said.
“The relationship between Prime minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Thackeray is also cordial,” the Rajya Sabha member added.
The Sena is connected with the BJP by the “bond of Hindutva”, and the leaders who have been with the saffron party for a long time never talk about attacking the Sena Bhavan (Shiv Sena headquarters) or slapping Uddhav Thackeray, Mr Raut said.
“Be it Devendra Fadnavis, Chandrakant Patil, Ashish Shelar or Vinod Tawde — these BJP leaders will never use such language against Shiv Sena. The violent language is commonly used by leaders like Prasad Lad, Pravin Darekar and now Narayan Rane,” he said.
“Those who joined it recently want the BJP and Sena to continue to fight. These people are the real threat to veteran BJP leaders,” Mr Raut added.
Asked about BJP Yuva Morcha deciding to write 75,000 letters to chief minister Thackeray over his alleged ignorance of the year of independence, Mr Raut said, “Be is letter politics or gutter politics, you can not fight with us.”
Notably, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil had struck a conciliatory note about the Sena earlier this week when he said the two parties had fallen out and contested 2014 assembly elections separately but they did come together again.
Mr Rane was expelled from the Shiv Sena in July 2005.