The Shiv Sena on Tuesday launched a stinging attack on its ally Bharatiya Janata Party, saying “the much-touted Gujarat model has shaken” and the poll outcome in the state was a “warning bell” to those who believe in an autocratic rule.
The Sena said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Patidar leader Hardik Patel had been ridiculed as “monkeys” but “these ‘monkeys’ have slapped the ‘lion’”.
The Sena attack on the BJP came in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, a day after the BJP retained power in Gujarat with a reduced tally of 99 seats against 115 last time.
The Congress increased its tally from 61 seats last time to 77 this time.
The Sena said the BJP had “barely managed to pass” the electoral exam but was pretending to have passed with distinction.
The BJP won Gujarat and Himachal, but the Congress also did not lose, the editorial said.
“The dream of a ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’ (Congress-free India) remained unfulfilled,” the Shiv Sena said.
This election result in Gujarat is a “warning bell for those who believe in an autocratic rule”, the Sena said.
“The BJP may have won the election but the discussion is about the strides Rahul Gandhi has taken. It was said that we (BJP) won’t get a single seat less than 150 in Gujarat, but it proved to be a tough task even to reach the 100 mark,” said the editorial.
The party asked the BJP to pay heed to the “sterling performance” of Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel in Gujarat.
While the people of Gujarat stood behind Modi in 99 constituencies, the “Rahul Gandhi-Hardik Patel duo” emerged victorious in 77 seats, it said.
“Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to play the Gujarati pride card (to win these elections),” it said.
The Sena said there were some who ridiculed Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel as “monkeys” compared to the BJP leadership. “These monkeys have slapped the lion and sounded the danger alarm,” it added.
“Those who indulged in this ridicule now have to pretend that they have passed with distinction, despite barely managing to pass (the poll exam),” the Sena said.
“The much-touted Gujarat model (of development) is shaken. We only wish that in (the) 2019 (elections) it does not collapse,” it said.
On the BJP workers rejoicing on Monday, the Shiv Sena wondered whether the party has scored “such a scintillating victory” that it was worthy of being celebrated with dancing.
“To summarise, one can say that the ‘wind’ has not changed direction (but) it has certainly slowed down. The (once) high tide has now subsided,” it said.