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BJP threatens to review ties with Shiv Sena
June 26, 2007 20:29 IST
A war of words broke out over Shiv Sena's decision to support the United Progressive Alliance-Left presidential nominee Pratibha Patil with the Bharatiya Janata Party threatening to review its ties, while the Sena sought to downplay the issue.
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde even talked of "betrayal" by the Sena by not supporting the National Democratic Alliance-backed nominee Bhairon Singh Shekhawat saying it had made a deal with the Congress to keep its erstwhile leader Narayan Rane from occupying the chief minister's post in Maharashtra.
He also said that the Sena has joined hands with anti-Hindutva forces, while his party colleague Nitin Gadkari said for the state BJP the relationship with Sena was virtually over.
"We are pained over the decision. It was not proper to take a decision concerning the next President of India based on regionalism," senior party leader Sushma Swaraj told reporters on Sena's decision to support Pratibha because she hailed from Maharashtra.
In Mumbai, Sena working president Udhav Thackeray hit back at BJP leaders of Maharashtra saying they did not need lessons in Hindutva.
"I can also reply in the same harsh words (like Munde and state BJP chief Gadkari), but I chose not to do so because we still consider them our friends," Thackeray said.
Thackeray said he did not see any reason to end the two-decade old alliance between the two parties.
"Some of the remarks of the Shiv Sena were avoidable," Swaraj said apparently referring to Sena chief Bal Thackarey's statement in which he had accused Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat of "bargaining" for votes as the NDA backed independent candidate.