BJP still hopes to win Shiv Sena's 'Hindutva' heart



 Hours after the Shiv Sena dismissed former Chief Minister and ex-Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi's musings that the party may reunite with Bharatiya Janata Party, the latter (BJP) also expressed similar optimism, here on Wednesday.

State BJP President Chandrakant Patil said, "Sena-BJP are natural allies bound with the common ideology of 'Hindutva' since over 30 years", and hence the party was positive of joining with its former ally sometime.

The BJP-Sena split in November after the October assembly elections and now Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray heads a Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Patil's assertion came hours after the Sena rejected outright its senior leader Joshi's predictions that the two parties could reunite in the near future, terming it as his "personal views".

Senior Leader and Deputy Chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe said in a statement that there's "absolutely no basis" to Joshi's comments.

"It is not the party's official stand, it may be his personal view only," Gorhe said, even as the party leadership was taken aback by the senior Joshi's sudden remarks yesterday, which sowed doubts in the minds of its allies Congress-Nationalist Congress Party.

She made it clear that the BJP's strategy of 'finishing off its allies' was not acceptable to the Shiv Sena, and "the emotions of his generation of senior leaders was understandable".

Among other things, Joshi mentioned that the Sena-BJP may come together in the foreseeable future and party chief and CM Thackeray would take the decision in the matter at an appropriate time.

It is not that the two parties have separated permanently and they could yet come together if they stop fighting on trivial issues, learn to tolerate and work jointly for mutual benefits, Joshi urged.

After the Congress was apparently upset with the Sena stand in the Lok Sabha on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Joshi's latest utterances virtually sent the fortnight old MVA into a spin, barely days before the upcoming Winter Session of Maharashtra Legislature next week.

In fact, a senior Congress leader Naseem Khan even accused the Sena of unilaterally going against the MVA's common minimum programme with its suo moto decision to support the CAB in the Lok Sabha.

However, after Thackeray's statement on Tuesday, the Sena has apparently reviewed its stand on the CAB, as indicated by party MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday, despite facing ridicule and onslaught by the state opposition BJP leaders.IANS