BJP-Shiv Sena’s show of strength: No formidable opposition left to take on, says Uddhav Thackeray

Ajay Jadhav
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray bows to the crowd at the launch of the election campaign of Sena-BJP alliance in Kolhapur Sunday. CM Devendra Fadnavis, RPI leader Ramdas Athawale and RSP leader Mahadeo Jankar were also present. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

Justifying their coming together, the BJP and Shiv Sena, in a show of strength in Kolhapur on Sunday, sought people's support to again form the government at the Centre. While the BJP highlighted the government's stern action against terrorism, the Sena said it carried forward the welfare work for the poor.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said he was unable to decide on whom to "criticise after getting in alliance with the BJP". "There is no formidable opposition left to take on," he said.

"When we were not in good terms, the Congress and NCP were touring the state and campaigning against us. But, now they don't know whether they exist any more," Thackeray said. He added that there was no need to explain the decision of the Sena-BJP alliance as it was the "wish of public". Click here for more election news

"If unfortunately the rivals get in power, then they don't have any face for prime minister. We have Narendra Modi as prime minister candidate. Those in the opposition wanting to become prime minister include NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BSP chief Mayawati, but they have already withdrawn from contesting the Lok Sabha elections," the Sena chief said.

On the issue of Ram Temple, Thackeray said the Ayodhya issue was "in cold storage till we raised it". He said, "The identity of India is Ram rajya… So, we need to have the temple."

Thackeray said the alliance will work for the welfare of public. "I raised some issues while deciding the alliance and the chief minister responded positively. I am proud of him as he has started implementing the assurance given," he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attacked the Congress-NCP for not "daring to teach lesson to Pakistan despite frequent terrorist attacks". "The defence forces always had capability to hit back at Pakistan but there was lack of political will. It is under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the armed forces have given a befitting reply to Pakistan," he said.

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"From now onwards, the armed forces would enter as well as thrash Pakistan whenever need be. It is only Pakistan and Congress, along with its alliance, who seek for the proof of aerial strike," Fadnavis said.

He said the opposition has almost withdrawn from election with Pawar acting as "non-playing captain" or the "twelfth player" of the team. "The opposition is not getting candidates and its candidates are changing everyday," he said.

Fadnavis said the BJP-Sena alliance was not for power or making anyone chief minister or prime minister but for the common ideology of Hindutva shared by both the parties. "Nationalism is in our mind… Hindutva is beyond any caste, religion or region for us," the CM said.