Flexing its muscles after the BJP’s narrow margin of victory in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, the Shiv Sena is planning to go solo in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.The Sena is testing the waters for contesting all 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and is looking at roping in disgruntled BJP leaders and former allies like farmer leader and Hatkanangale MP Raju Shetti.“We are examining the possibility (fighting Lok Sabha elections after snapping alliance with BJP),” confirmed a senior Shiv Sena leader while speaking to DNA.He also added that the issue was likely to be discussed in the state executive of the party scheduled on January 22.Last week, Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray created a flutter by stating that they would quit the BJP-led government next year and come to power on their own merit. Sources said the announcement may be made during the party’s annual Dusshera rally.“We have been working on this for some time. The Shiv Sena is strengthening the party organisation (in all Lok Sabha seats),” the Shiv Sena leader said.He claimed they could rope in disgruntled elements in the BJP and leaders of smaller parties like Shetti, who have broken his alliance with the BJP.The Sena functionary was however non-committal on whether the party would enter into an understanding or a tie-up with the NCP or the Congress, as had been done in some local body elections like the Thane Zilla Parishad and the council polls in Nandurbar to consolidate the anti-incumbency vote.Shiv Sena sources said while the party had a smaller stake in Delhi, the BJP would be hurt at the national level if they decided to go it alone in Maharashtra.The Sena is seen as the BJP’s only natural ally in the NDA due to the common agenda of Hindutva, but of late, their differences have only grown.EMBITTERED ALLIESLast week, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray created a flutter by stating that the party would quit the BJP-led government. Sources said the announcement may be made during the party’s annual Dusshera rally. So far, however, the Shiv Sena is non-committal on whether it is considering a tie-up with the NCP or the Congress.
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