This Article is From Jan 25, 2022

In New Dig At BJP, Sanjay Raut Says Sena First To Fight Poll On Hindutva

The remarks come amid a war of words between BJP and Sena that started with Uddhav Thackeray's speech on Bal Thackeray's birth anniversary

In New Dig At BJP, Sanjay Raut Says Sena First To Fight Poll On Hindutva

Sanjay Raut said Sena's Ramesh Prabhu won a bypoll to Vile Parle Assembly seat in 1987-88

New Delhi:

Stepping up his party's attack on the BJP, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut today said the Sena was the first party in the country to contest an election on "Hindutva" plank and that it was after its win that the BJP approached Bal Thackeray for an alliance.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Raut said Sena's Ramesh Prabhu had contested and won a bypoll to the Vile Parle Assembly seat in Mumbai in 1987-88 and retained it in 1990.

It was the first time Hindutva was mentioned in electoral politics in the country, adding that the Congress and BJP had also contested the election.

"It is after this victory that the BJP approached Shiv Sena for an alliance on Hindutva which Balasaheb (Thackeray) agreed to as he didn't want a division of Hindu votes. Contemporary BJP leaders are unaware of this history," Mr Raut said in a veiled dig at Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis.

The remarks come amid a war of words between the estranged allies, starting with party chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's speech on party founder Bal Thackeray's 96th birth anniversary Sunday.

Announcing the party's plans to expand its national footprint, Mr Thackeray said the BJP uses "Hindutva" for political convenience and that the Sena's 25 years in the alliance had been wasted.

In a scathing response, Mr Fadnavis said, "Shiv Sena has selective memory. The Shiv Sena was not even born when BJP had its members in the Mumbai civic body. In the 1984 election, their party candidate contested on a BJP ticket."

"Where were you in the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign? We took the bullets and the lathis," the former Chief Minister added.

Mr Raut alleged that the BJP has sidelined family members of its veterans like late Pramod Mahajan, Gopinath Munde and Manohar Parrikar who helped build the party organisation in Maharashtra and Goa.

Asked about Mr Thackeray's remarks that Sena should "capture" Delhi, Mr Raut clarified that he meant defeating BJP at the national level. "The country is supreme and Delhi, which is the national capital, should not be dominated by one or two people," he said.

The BJP and Sena parted ways after the 2019 Maharashtra elections following a disagreement over a power sharing formula. The Sena eventually tied up with the NCP and the Congress to form a coalition government.