In an apparent snub to the BJP ahead of the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls, Shiv Sena has not invited its ally for its 50th anniversary celebrations on Sunday.
"We have not invited the BJP as it is an internal party celebration which is aimed at gearing up our party workers. Recently, BJP held its National Executive meet in Allahabad for which none of its allies were invited. Similarly, every party has its own celebrations, meetings, which are only for its members," Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said.
When asked if the move is an indication to the BJP that the party may decide to go solo in the upcoming BMC polls, she said, "Our mission for the BMC election is 100% Sena. Every party would want to win an election. The Sena has always been at the helm of affairs in the state and has never required anybody's support to grow, which has not been the case with the BJP."
Reacting to the development, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, "It is their internal programme thus their choice on who has to be invited. We only wish them good luck."
Opposition parties, meanwhile, have taken an opportunity to take a dig at the saffron allies, saying their internal bickering will only add to their misfortunes in the upcoming BMC polls.
"Both the BJP and the Sena know their chances of retaining power in the BMC are negligible owing to the massive corruption that has taken place in their tenure. The slugfest between both parties will be an added advantage for the Opposition parties," NCP legislator Kiran Pawaskar said.
Congress spokesperson Al-Nasser Zakaria said, "From the time of formation of government, both parties' postures have been that of one-upmanship. Alliance has to be followed in letter and spirit. People of the state should have the confidence in them. Bickering on petty issues is irrelevant to the people. However, if Sena wants to sit on opposition benches they are most welcome."
The Sena will be staging a grand mega event on 19 June at Goregaon Easts NSE grounds showcasing its 50 years of political journey that has been shaped by the contribution of late party chief Bal Thackeray and his family.