MUMBAI: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said his party should be prepared to contest civic polls, due early next year in around 10 Maharashtra cities, on its own and they are in favour of an alliance if it materialises with respect, but there will be no compromise on the party’s saffron flag.
Addressing party workers at Bhosari in Pimpri-Chinchwad town of neighbouring Pune, Raut said there is resentment among the Sena cadre in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad that the NCP, which is strong in the two cities, is “neglecting” the Uddhav Thackeray-led party despite being its alliance partner in the state government.
Referring to Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s current visit to New Delhi, Raut in a lighter vein said he was there to take stock of the “Delhi way of functioning”.
Noting that there was resentment among the Shiv Sena workers in Pune and Pimpri-Chichwad over the NCP “neglecting” their party ahead of the civic polls due next year, the Rajya Sabha member said, “Don’t upset us, otherwise there will be a problem. (NCP leader) Ajit Pawar, who is Pune’s gaurdian minister, also listens to the chief minister. So, local NCP leaders should also accommodate the Shiv Sena.”
He said it was upsetting that the Shiv Sena had not been able to unfurl its saffron flag at the civic bodies of the two cities.
“We are used to fighting alone. Why wait for an alliance? Let us plan to contest all seats. If an alliance materialises with respect and dignity, its okay. There will be no compromise over our saffron flag,” the Sena leader said.
Raut further said come what may, “we have to have our own mayor in Pimpri-Chinchwad”.
“If we can get the chief minister’s post with 56 MLAs, we can get the mayor’s post with 40 to 50 corporators,” the Sena’s chief spokesperson said.
After the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls, the Shiv Sena parted ways with long-term ally BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post and forged an alliance with the NCP and Congress to form government.