'Whatever happens, we have decided to go alone.'
'This is the Shiv Sena's word and we will never go back on it.'
IMAGE: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, left, with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.
With 86 legislators in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, a principal ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state, at its national executive meeting on Tuesday, January 23, the 91st birth anniversary of its founder Bal Thackeray, declared it would contest the assembly and general elections in 2019 on its own.
The state's political circles are once again agog with talk of a mid-term election or even swapping of allegiances, with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party waiting in the wings to join the government with 41 lawmakers in case the Sena pulls out.
The BJP has 122 elected MLAs.
Arvind Sawant -- the Shiv Sena's Lok Sabha member from South Mumbai -- believes that politics is the art of the possible.
"Why should we need any reason to do whatever is necessary for the welfare of the Shiv Sena?" Sawant asks Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore.
After your party's announcement to contest the 2019 elections on its own, do you think the Devendra Fadnavis government will last till 2019?
Elections will take place when they are due.
That will depend on the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Whenever the next elections are announced, we will be fighting it alone.
So, there are no immediate plans for the Sena to withdraw support from the government?
Nobody has said anything like this.
Will the Sena-BJP government remain intact till the 2019 election?
Who am I to talk about these matters? How can I speak about it?
That will be solely decided by Uddhavji (Sena President Uddhav Thackeray) and the party.
For now one thing is clear -- that whenever the next election is announced, be it to the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha, we will be fighting it on our own.
Whatever happens, we have decided to go alone.
This is the Shiv Sena's word and we will never go back on it.
Were you surprised by the party president's decision?
Not at all.
In fact, last year on January 26, he (Uddhav Thackeray) had openly said that the Shiv Sena will fight all elections solo.
When the Shiv Sena had fought all elections after the 2014 assembly against the BJP, what prompted the party president to announce it publicly at the national executive?
What message does the Shiv Sena want to convey?
Why should we need any reason to do whatever is necessary for the welfare of the Shiv Sena?
It is our national executive and whatever the party feels nationally has come out at the meeting.
Chief Minister Fadnavis was quoted as saying that 'We are used to such remarks by the Shiv Sena'.
If so, then let them experience (whatever happens further).
What are the chances of the NCP and BJP coming together? Or the Shiv Sena and NCP fighting the next elections as allies?
It is difficult to comment on it at this moment, but anything can happen.
You mean it can happen?
Do you remember what Uddhavji had said once. 'Kavla phandivar basayla, aani phandi tutayla (a weak branch doesn't need a crow to sit on it for it to break).'
In this context, the weak branch was the BJP-Shiv Sena partnership, which was so tenuous that nobody should be surprised with its snapping.
They (the BJP) were waiting for that. They asked for it.
So, there is a distinct possibility that the BJP and NCP can come together?
Anything can happen...
Is there no chance of the NCP and Shiv Sena becoming electoral allies?
Politics is the art of the possible... Rajkarnaat kahi hi hou shakta (anything can happen in politics).