Shiv Sena: Why so many rallies by Modi-Shah if there’s no opposition?

PM Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai Friday. (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar)

A day after the high-spirited campaigning for the Maharashtra Assembly polls came to an end, the Shiv Sena on Sunday sought to know why there were so many BJP rallies with leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah addressing them, when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis feels that there is no opposition left in fray to challenge his party-led alliance.

"The chief minister has been asserting that the opposition 'does not exist' any more in the poll campaign. The question then arises about the motive behind some 10 rallies of (Prime Minister) Modi, 30 of (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah, and Fadnavis himself holding 100 rallies across Maharashtra," Sena leader Sanjay Raut wrote in a column in the party's mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

"Though Fadnavis said he is not facing any opposition challenge, in reality there is electoral challenge, which forced the BJP leaders to hold so many rallies," Raut wrote in the column titled 'RokhThok'.

He added that the same question was raised by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and it is not wrong.

On Sena scion Aaditya Thackeray's foray into elections, he said the move will change the "political dynamics" of the state in the coming years.

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"He is contesting elections not to just sit in the Assembly, but the new generation wants him to lead the state," Raut wrote.

Raut also pointed out that Sena spoke about the issues of the common man, whereas the issues of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya were raised in Maharashtra for the first time.

"The Shiv Sena has promised a full meal at Rs 10 for the common man and medical check-up at Re one. There should have been someone in the campaign to speak on issues of the state and the common man. What Fadnavis has done for the state in last five years is going to be tested tomorrow," he wrote.

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Raut also wrote about the defection of leaders from both the parties.

"There are rebels in at least 37 Assembly segments. Both the parties (BJP and Sena) had earlier prepared for contesting separately, hence many aspirants were disappointed and some of them decided to contest separately. They are doing it to stay relevant in their constituencies, so I will not call them rebels," he said.

The polling for the 288-Assembly seats will be held on Monday, the results of which will be declared on Thursday.