Last Updated: August 06, 2022, 21:50 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party offered unconditional support to Shiv Sena after the 2017 Mumbai civic polls despite its winning tally just four seats short of the total seats won by the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, a Sena MLA said on Saturday. Eknath Shinde faction’s spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar also said the BJP didn’t demand at that time that the post of Mayor or Deputy Mayor of Mumbai be given to it on a rotational basis.
Kesarkar’s remarks are viewed as a veiled dig at Thackeray who had alleged that the BJP did not keep its 2019 promise of rotating the post of Maharashtra chief minister and severed ties with the long-term ally post the 2019 Assembly elections. In the 2017 elections to the 227-member Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the BJP had won 82 seats, just two seats behind the Shiv Sena. Both the parties, then in power in Maharashtra, had contested the Mumbai civic polls separately.
“The BJP had given the unconditional support to Shiv Sena after the 2017 BMC polls though the BJP won only four seats less than Shiv Sena,” Kesarkar told a press conference. He demanded that Uddhav Thackeray clarify whether he had agreed to join hands with the BJP last year after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. A day earlier, Kesarkar had revealed that Thackeray was planning to step down as the Maharashtra Chief Minister last year after holding talks with PM Modi. “If I am proved wrong, I will retire from public life,” he said on Saturday.
Responding to a query, Kesarkar said he had not complained against Union minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane to PM Modi. Kesarkar on Friday said several Shiv Sena leaders were “pained” at attempts to “malign” the image of the then cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, by BJP Rane by dragging him in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
Kesarkar also said he had tried for the normalisation of strained relations between Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray but in vain. Ten days after raising the banner of revolt in the Shiv Sena, Shinde took oath as chief minister on June 30 with the BJP’s support.