The right-wing Maharashtra native party Shiv Sena has stated that it will run for all 403 seats in the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state election next year. The decision was made following a meeting of the party’s regional leadership in Lucknow.
“Shiv Sena will be the voice of people and filed candidates in all assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh to counter BJP. Coordinators have been appointed to strengthen the organisation in every assembly constituency. The delegation of state leaders will soon hand over the report of the election preparation and the organisation,” said the Shiv Sena UP in a statement, according to LiveMint.
The present state administration in UP, according to the Shiv Sena’s UP state head Thakur Singh, is not treating Brahmins well, in addition to inflation and unemployment being at an all-time high. He said that therefore, the party has decided to run candidates in all of Uttar Pradesh’s constituencies. The party further stated that they will heed to popular opinion and “teach a lesson“ to the incumbent BJP.
“The UP government is giving a step-motherly treatment to the farmers, the health infrastructure has collapsed and they could make no arrangements to even cremate those claimed by COVID,” added Singh. “However, now the Sena will stand up as the voice of the masses and teach a lesson to the BJP in UP by contesting all the seats in the state assembly,” he said. “We have been fighting UP elections since 1991 when one MLA Pawan Kumar Pandey was elected. We also have many Shiv Sainiks elected in various civic bodies across the state,” Singh told the IANS while talking about the party’s prospects.
According to India Today, coordinators have been selected to improve the party’s organisation in each of the state’s assembly constituencies. A Shiv Sena delegation from UP is scheduled to visit Maharashtra shortly to meet with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. According to a statement issued by the UP Shiv Sena, they will be giving over a report on election preparation and organisation.
The pre-election trumpet was sounded during a high-level meeting of Sena officials in Lucknow, spearheaded by state president Thakur Anil Singh, after deliberating on what it called the “jungle raj” prevailing in UP under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, for the previous four-and-a-half years. He stressed that the BJP government has failed miserably on the law and order front, and that sisters and daughters were in danger because of this. Commenting on the progress of development, Vishwajeet Singh, the UP Shiv Sena Secretary said, “We deliberated on several issues ranging from the education system to the healthcare sector, the bungling of the COVID pandemic, the problems of farmers, the spectre of unemployment among youth, etc.” Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut confirmed the developments, saying that the party is planning to field at least 100 candidates in the UP election and 20 in the Goa election. He claimed that the Yogi regime has failed to honour the Supreme Court verdict by giving 15 percent fee remission to students, while youth wracked by unemployment and inflation are fleeing the state.
Meanwhile, ahead of the crucial UP assembly polls next year, BJP president J.P. Nadda, on Saturday, threw an open challenge to opposition party leaders to give an account of the work done during their respective tenures in the state.
Shiv Sena’s farmer leader Kishore Tiwari, who has been elevated to the rank of Minister of State, welcomed the move, saying curtly that the people of Uttar Pradesh have not forgotten those corpses floating in the Ganga, even though the Yogi government failed to acknowledge the mess it made during the COVID-19 outbreak. He also raised concerns about the safety of women, Dalits and OBCs, minorities, and other groups under the BJP administration, predicting that “UP will prove to be a mega-gamechanger for the BJP” after Maharashtra.
Though the Sena has not stated its intentions, party insiders suggest it is open to forming an alliance with the Uttar Pradesh Congress, given that ties between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, which are ideologically aligned, have become tense since the Maha Vikas Aghadi administration took office in Maharashtra. Simultaneously, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has stated that her party was “open” to forming coalitions. Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Kumar Lallu has also indicated that they will ally with minor parties in the coming months. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is reportedly in UP for two days to figure out strategies for the state polls. A marathon meeting with party officials was held here on Saturday, according to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, whose views will prove crucial in the distribution of tickets next year.
It’s difficult to predict if the Congress and the Shiv Sena would join hands to contest the election. Shiv Sena, founded by the late Balasaheb Thackeray, has previously run in civic, assembly, and Lok Sabha elections in states such as Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Goa, Karnataka, and Jammu & Kashmir, but has been defeated most times. This time, boosted by its leadership of the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition, the Sena wants to gain a national presence by performing well in the Uttar Pradesh and Goa assembly elections.