Shiv Sena Members of Parliament (MPs) have urged party chief Uddhav Thackeray to mend ties with the rebel Sena faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party MP said on Tuesday.
Stressing for an alliance, the MPs have conveyed to Uddhav that the BJP was a "natural ally" of Shiv Sena, unlike the "unnatural alliance" of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Sena MP Hemant Godse said.
The MVA comprised Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress.
The Shiv Sena MPs raised this issue on Monday during their meeting with Uddhav at his private residence in Mumbai. The MPs also urged Thackeray to back the candidature of Droupadi Murmu, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate. The meeting was attended by 13 of the 18 MPs from Maharashtra — three had taken consent from the party to skip the meeting.
Talking to PTI, Godse, who represents the Nashik Lok Sabha constituency, accused the NCP of trying to create obstacles in projects in the constituencies held by Shiv Sena.
"The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance was a natural alliance," he said, adding that the Sena has traditionally fought the NCP at the ground level.
Godse also said that he had fought against the Bujbals in the last three Lok Sabha polls. In 2009 against Sameer Bhujbal, the nephew of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal. He fought against the Bhujbal senior in 2014, and again with Sameer in 2019.
After the MVA government was formed in November 2019, Chhagan Bhujbal became the guardian minister of Nashik.
"The decades-old rivalries do not end in five years," he said.
Godse cited the example of the Nashik Lok Sabha constituency to stress the importance of allying with the BJP.
Of the six assembly segments, three seats in Nashik city are represented by BJP MLAs. The rest three —Sinnar, Igatpuri and Deolali— are with the NCP and the Congress, where Shiv Sena candidates had lost.
He said, "If we continue with the MVA alliance, then what will our Sena candidates do? This is the biggest question that will arise. So, with regards to an alliance with the BJP or if Eknath Shinde desires to come back to the party....we requested (Thackeray) to accept him back in the party fold."
Shinde's rebellion with the majority of Sena MLAs led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government last month. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.
Godse also drew parallels between the 25 years of the alliance between the Shiv Sena and the BJP and the two-and-a-half years of the MVA. He said the chemistry between Shiv Sena and BJP was better.
"We have expressed our opinion and the decision taken by (Uddhav Thackeray) saheb will be final," he said about the meeting.
When asked if the Sena leadership declines the proposal of MPs to mend ties with the Shinde faction or the BJP, he said, "We will request him from time to time."
(With PTI inputs)