'Sena betrayed us, not Ajit or Sharad Pawar': Amit Shah on BJP's Maharashtra ‘miscalculation’

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India, Politics

Shah asserted that BJP had never indulged in horse trading or even attempted it, but it was Congress that did horse trading.

Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the three parties – Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena -- who formed the Maharashtra government have “lust for power” and not a common ideology. (Photo: File)

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the three parties – Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena -- who formed the Maharashtra government have “lust for power” and not a common ideology.

Shah while speaking at News18’s Agenda Jharkhand event touched upon the reasons why the BJP was unable to form the government in Maharashtra despite being the single largest party and defended the party’s decision to seek support from NCP’s Ajit Pawar that almost immediately backfired.

When asked specifically if he considered the decision to take Ajit Pawar’s support a miscalculation or a mistake, Shah said it can be classified as that. But he said the BJP was not betrayed by Ajit Pawar, or even Sharad Pawar, but the Shiv Sena, the party’s oldest ally in Maharashtra. “The NCP always fought against us, but the Sena has betrayed us,” Shah was quoted by News18.

Yet, he did not go as far as to say that the Sena and the BJP cannot come together again in the short or medium-term future. “When such a betrayal happens, it is natural for the cadre to be angry. It would not be appropriate for me to say any further,” he said.

“The entire country knows what happened in Maharashtra. The BJP and Sena were in an alliance when we fought the election and mandate was with the BJP. After the results, Sena came up with different demands,” Shah said at the event.

He rejected Sena’s claims that the BJP had offered to share the chief ministerial post, saying that at several rallies where even Uddhav Thackeray was present, it was made clear that Devendra Fadnavis would remain the CM if the alliance returned to power.

The Home Minister asserted that the BJP had never indulged in horse trading or even attempted it, and it was instead the Congress party that did horse trading. “They bought the entire stable,” he said.

The BJP had tried to form the government in Maharashtra by taking the support of NCP’s Ajit Pawar and had installed Fadnavis as the CM on November 22, but the government lasted only 80 hours as Pawar was unable to bring any MLAs with him.

The ploy to take Ajit Pawar’s support had raised questions since the BJP had repeatedly attacked the NCP, and particularly Ajit Pawar, as corrupt during the election campaign in the state.

On November 25, the state’s anti-graft body also shut down probe in nine irrigation scam cases, further leading to claims that Pawar’s support was conditional on the cases against him being withdrawn.

But Shah dismissed that suggestion and claimed that the investigation against Pawar in the irrigation scam cases would have continued even if he would have remained a part of the government. He also claimed that the BJP joining hands with him was not an ideological mismatch, while the Sena’s alliance with the Congress was.

“What answer will Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi give on why they joined hands with the Sena,” he asked, adding that the BJP can be satisfied with the fact that for it, ideology remained supreme and was not compromised.

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