Shiv Sena will be contesting 50 to 55 seats in the Karnataka polls.
MUMBAI: After making its entry into national politics by contesting for seats in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa polls independently, the Shiv Sena will contest the Karnataka assembly polls scheduled for May 12.
The party leaders said that it was an effort to expand the party base across India. Sources said that this could become problematic for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its ally partner, as it may divide the Hindutva votes.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that the party would be contesting 50 to 55 seats in the Karnataka polls. “We will be contesting Karnataka polls.
But we will not field candidates in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border areas where Maharashtra Ekikaran Samitee is contesting,” he said. The Sena has many supporters among the Marathi speaking population in the area.. The party has been very vocal about including the Marathi speaking population in Maharashtra.
Taking a dig at chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mr Raut said that he should campaign for the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samitee. “There is mention of Maharashtra-Karnataka border area in every speech by the governor. Therefore it is a moral responsibility of the CM to come for the campaign of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samitee candidates,” he said.
The Sena MP also appealed to other parties not to contest in the area against Maharashtra Ekikaran Samitee.
Mr Raut criticised the BJP national president Amit Shah for creating confusion among the party with his statements.
“It is difficult to predict who will win the Karnataka polls. But at present, the Congress is leading. The actual picture will be clear when PM Narendra Modi will go for campaigning,” he said.
This is not the first time that the Sena is contesting polls against the BJP. It has remained the policy of the party that it would contest polls independently in other states.
Last year, the Sena even passed a resolution that it would contest the next Lok Sabha polls alone, indicating a parting of ways from the National Democratic Alliance.