The Shiv Sena today backed its president Uddhav Thackeray's assertion of being in the NDA fold only when the party's self-respect was maintained and alleged that the BJP has always grown on the strength of regional parties.
Shiv Sena leader Manisha Kayande asserted that their party has always grown on its own, whereas the saffron party has always depended on the strength of regional parties to develop in the nation.
"The Sena has always grown on its own. It is an original party and has not depended on any national party for growth. If you observe, the BJP has always grown on the strength of the regional parties, right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from north to the south and from the east to the west," said Kayande.
"So, it depends completely on the leaders as to what will happen with the alliance and definitely, if there would be an alliance in the Mumbai Civic polls, it would be a respectable one," she added.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also backed Thackeray's remark and said his party would not ally with the BJP at the cost of self respect.
"Both parties have been issuing statements with regard to the issue of the alliance. Every party has got its independent role and identity. I think that Uddhav ji has said that BJP and the Shiv Sena are there in the alliance in Maharashtra," Raut said.
"If someone doesn't want the alliance then we will not have it. We are ready to fight the upcoming elections, whether it is BMC or the state elections, on our own. Our friends in the BJP have also made such kind of statements. But there would be a discussion on the same between the two parties," he added.
Thackeray on 19 June expressed his apprehension about the future of his party's alliance with the BJP, saying the alliance cannot come at the cost of self-respect.
Addressing the party workers at the NSE grounds in Goregaon on the occasion of Shiv Sena's 50-year celebrations, Thackeray criticised both the Centre as well as the state government for failing to reign in rising prices.
"I am not sure about the alliance in coming elections, but be ready to fight it alone also," he said.
"I want to make it clear that I don't want break the alliance but at the same won't do alliance at the cost of self respect," he added.