Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has locked horns with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll by giving a ticket to late Bharatiya Janata Party MP Chintama Vanaga's son, Shrinivas, causing a miffed BJP to field another candidate in the byelection.
The bypoll to the seat in the neighbouring Palghar district has been necessitated due to the death of sitting MP Chintaman Wanga in January this year. Vanaga worked for the BJP and helped the party grow and this seat should remain with the BJP, said Mr Fadnavis.
In 1968, Shiv Sena entered the political framework of Bombay by winning 42 seats out of 121 in civic elections. The BJP has tried, and failed, to woo its old ally into joining hands for future polls.
The BJP has accused the Shiv Sena of going behind its back to induct the Wanga family.
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today made light of Congress president Rahul Gandhi's remarks that he is ready to occupy the prime minister's post if his party emerges as the "biggest" party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. "The BJP's victory will be a real tribute to Chintaman Wanga". The seat was won for the BJP by Vanga. "We want the seat to be retained by the BJP". This, despite us having discussed everything clearly with them.
Shiv Sena has been blamed for the 1970 communal riots in Bhiwandi, the 1984 Bhiwandi riots and the 1992-1993 Bombay riots. "They should stand behind us and support our candidate". But later they got Vanaga's family to join the Sena.
When contacted, Sena minister Eknath Shinde said: "The Sena had approached the Wanga family members, as they were ignored by the BJP". The Shiv Sena is part of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and also in Maharashtra. However, Shiv Sena has chose to contest both the elections separately and has steadfastly refused to respond positively to this appeal made by the Chief Minister. Fadnavis said, "Gavit has not come with any conditions". Fadnavis said that Gavit had done good work and there was talk of getting him into the BJP in 2014 itself, "but since the alliance with Shiv Sena cracked only at the last moment, we could not give him a ticket". Addressing a press conference in the state BJP headquarters on Tuesday, Fadnavis said that the workers in Dahanu had recommended the name of Vanga's son, but he, unfortunately, went to Shiv Sena.
Otherwise, the Palghar parliamentary constituency is largely a stronghold of the local Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) and also has a strong Leftist presence.