LS polls: Shinde-led Shiv Sena upset with BJP playing 'big brother' in candidate selection, strategy

The BJP is also staking claims to seats currently held by Shinde's Sena


The upcoming Lok Sabha elections have become the primary cause of a rift between the BJP and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.

Leaders of Shiv Sena are upset that the BJP is virtually dictating terms for them when it comes to candidate selection, campaign strategy and planning, not to mention staking claims to seats currently held by the Shiv Sena.

A case in point is that of Nashik Lok Sabha constituency which is represented by Hemant Godse of Shiv Sena. Chief minister's son and MP Dr Shrikant Shinde had announced the candidature of Godse again for the elections. However, the BJP is putting pressure on Shiv Sena leaders to give the seat to Ajit Pawar-led NCP and senior minister Chhagan Bhujbal should contest from Nashik.

The BJP has also staked claim to Ratnagiri–Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat which was won by Shiv Sena in the last election. The current MP Vinayak Raut has stayed loyal to Uddhav Thackeray and hence Shinde-led Shiv Sena expected the seat to be given to them. They had even asked Kiran Samant, brother of Industries Minister Uday Samant, to start preparations for the campaign. However, the BJP wants the seat for itself and wants Union minister Narayan Rane to contest from there against Sena UBT's Raut.

Similarly, the BJP has also staked claim to Thane and Mumbai South seats. Both of its MPs have remained loyal to Uddhav Thackeray. Thane is the bastion of Shinde, so Sena workers in Thane are eagerly awaiting solution to the deadlock over Thane.

The BJP also exerted pressure on the CM to deny ticket to sitting Ramtek MP Krupal Tumane on the grounds of local anti-incumbency as Tumane won previous three LS elections. It also asked Shiv Sena leadership to change the candidate in Hatkanangale seat where candidature of sitting MP Dhairyashil Mane had been announced. The BJP also wants Shinde to drop Hingoli candidate Hemant Patil. This forced Patil to a make a show of strength by calling his supporters to Varsha bungalow of the chief minister. What remains to be seen now is whether CM succumbs to pressure from BJP or holds his ground firmly. 

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