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Shiv Sena attacks BJP again, now compares its rule to British Raj

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Editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ says just like the British, the BJP has blind followers who think its rule is ‘God’s blessing’.

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Tuesday drew tart parallels between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government and the British Raj in India, saying a trader’s rule can only result in plunder. Thus, it continued its strategy of needling the BJP, which party leaders have said is now its main rival.

In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece publication ‘Saamana’, the Shiv Sena said both the BJP and the British governments in India had blind followers who considered their rule to be akin to God’s blessings, but in reality, all that the British did was divide and rule the country.

“It is a subject for research to find what good is exactly taking place in the country, but advertisements worth crores of rupees continue. Like there were people who blindly hailed the British rule as God’s blessings, there are people who say the same about the Modi-Shah regime too…Tomorrow, these people won’t stop short of even giving credit for the sunrise to Modi or the Fadnavis government,” the party said in the editorial.

Incidentally, the Shiv Sena’s criticism comes on a day when the United Kingdom lost its place on the International Court of Justice, the principal legal body of the United Nations, to an Indian contender, Dalveer Bhandari. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the efforts of the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her team for India’s ‘victory’.

The Sena also slammed BJP leaders for snatching credit for Haryana’s Manushi Chhillar’s victory at the Miss World beauty pageant. Chhillar won because she impressed the jury with her answers, and not because there is a Modi-Shah government in Delhi, the party said.

The real agenda

In comparing the BJP to the British rule of traders, the Shiv Sena is attempting to position itself as more nationalistic, more patriotic, and more pro-poor than the BJP.

The Sena, a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance and a junior partner in the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, has been keeping up its onslaught against its ally, preparing ground for the 2019 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections. The two parties plan to snap ties and contest independently.

Moreover, if the Sena has to step out of the Maharashtra government due to the increasingly terse relations, it wants that decision to come from the BJP. Party sources say there is a general feeling that regional sentiments may make people rally around the Shiv Sena more strongly if the latter walks out on its partner, giving the Uddhav Thackeray-led party room to play the victim card, as in the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls.

Until then, with its constant criticism, the Shiv Sena may be attempting to both push the BJP for a reaction, as well as prepare ground to contest the 2019 elections on its own strength, singling out the BJP, and not Congress, as its principal opponent.

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