The Congress Monday alleged the BJP might have forced the bickering ally Shiv Sena to agree for the poll tie-up by "showing it fear" of Enforcement Directorate (ED). Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil dared Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to reveal the reasons behind taking a U-turn on alliance with the BJP for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
"I have information that the BJP might have compelled Shiv Sena to form an alliance by showing it fear of the Enforcement Directorate," Vikhe Patil told reporters in Pune, hours after the Sena and the BJP sealed a seat-sharing pact in the presence of BJP president Amit Shah in Mumbai. The senior Congress leader said the tie-up underlines that the ruling allies have come together out of fear of losing polls.
As per the understanding between the two parties, the BJP will contest 25 seats and Shiv Sena 23 of total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. The two parties will contest an equal number of seats, after allotting allies their due share of segments, in polls for the 288-member state Assembly, due later this year.
Taking potshots, Maharashtra Congress unit president Ashok Chavan said the poll tie-up was an alliance of the "Rafale thief and the party which is desperate for power". "Tiger abhi bhi lachar hai," Chavan said ridiculing the Sena. Tiger is the emblem of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Vikhe Patil wondered how could the BJP approach the Sena for an understanding when the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah by "crossing all lines". "The people of Maharashtra are mature enough and they will teach a lesson to both the parties. This alliance is a breach of trust of the people. It is ill-fated and opportunistic," he said.
In a tweet with a hashtag "GolmalReturns", Vikhe Patil stated, "As per my information, Shiv Sena is subjugated by BJP with by threatening the action by Enforcement Directorate. Therefore the declaration of alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena is taking place".
Vikhe Patil also said the Sena has proved again that "brokering a deal" was the only programme on its agenda. Recalling that Thackeray had borrowed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's "chowkidar chor hai" jibe to attack the PM, the Congress leader accused the BJP of "forgetting insults heaped on its leadership".
"BJP too has lost all its self respect as its President Amit Shah went at the door steps of Uddhav Thackeray with a begging bowl. This goes to show that BJP has already sensed defeat. #GolmalReturns," he added. The Congress and the NCP also wondered if the Sena had forgotten the slogan that it wanted a Ram temple to be constructed first in Ayodhya before talking about alliance.
Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil questionned if Sena has forgotten its criticism of Modi government on a range of issues and its declaration that it would go solo in elections. Patil referred to the Sena's constant criticism of the government through editorials in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"The Shiv Sena had compared the Modi government with Britishers...It, however, has forgotten it," Patil tweeted. NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said that fear of losing the upcoming polls brought the ruling parties together.
"People will defeat the combine despite their coming together...the Shiv Sena will have to answer what happened to first temple and then government slogan," he said. Referring to Thackeray's use of "chowkidar chor hai" slogan, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam asked if the Sena wanted the same "thief" to retain power.
"It is clearly seen that the Shiv Sena is yet again joining hands with the BJP for power and that this is a selfish decision by both the parties," Nirupam told reporters. Meanwhile, Nirupam said the Congress will give unemployment allowance to the youth if it comes to power, and announced the launch of the party's campaign in Mumbai.
TV actress Asawari Joshi joined the Congress in his presence. "I always wanted to work for the people and therefore, I have decided to work with the Congress. I joined Congress because it is a secular party," she added..