Over the possibility of the BJP-MNS alliance, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has said that MNS supremo Raj Thackeray's role has usually been against the Constitution. Speaking with ANI during a pro-CAA march, Athawale said, "Raj Thackeray's approach has always been against the Constitution, hence his party has been reduced to one MLA in the state assembly. Raj Thackeray's approach has always been against the North and South Indians. BJP will suffer severely if it allies with MNS and Raj Thackeray might also suffer if he comes with BJP".
Anticipating a meeting with BJP leader and the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis, Athawale said that he will speak to Fadnavis to not ally with MNS. Athawale who is also the President of the Republican Party of India spoke about how his party can play a role in garnering votes for BJP. "Shiv Sena and BJP have separated, if more power is given to the Republican Party, then it will be a good chance to divert the Dalit and minorities' vote for BJP. I am going to meet Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil to tell them that BJP should not ally with MNS", Athawale added.
In a press conference on December 9, Fadnavis had clarified his stand over the possibility of an alliance with BJP stating that there is no discussion of the alliance at present. Fadnavis asserted that MNS needs to have a comprehensive and inclusive approach. Speaking of the possibility of the two parties coming together in the future, the BJP leader said, "If MNS changes the thought process and working methods, makes it more comprehensive, then there can be a chance of the two parties coming together" - thereby opening the door for MNS to perhaps take corrective action.
In a party meeting held in Pune recently, the MNS supremo was very critical of Shiv Sena's distancing itself from Hindutva, according to sources. Meanwhile, the BJP too has repeatedly slammed the Sena for compromising with its ideology for the sake of power. In another development, BJP workers in Palghar put up a banner featuring Raj Thackeray, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Fadnavis in the run-up to the District Council election.
Sources reveal that BJP MLA Ashish Shelar also met Raj Thackeray recently. Moreover, senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar confirmed that his party could potentially ally with the BJP to take on the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance. The speculation of the party veering towards Hindutva gained momentum as MNS has reportedly discarded its current flag- which has three colors- saffron, green and blue. The new saffron flag with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal on it is expected to be unveiled very soon.