A day after a number of Opposition and regional parties came together in a show of unity and strength on the occasion of HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in as Karnataka Chief Minister, a political party that was conspicuous by its absence at the ceremony has expressed that it is open to being a part of the anti-Modi front that was on show in Bengaluru.
Republic TV has spoken to senior Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant who had on Wednesday offered that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had indeed been invited to the oath-taking ceremony but hadn't been able to attend as the party is preparing for the Palghar Lok Sabha by-poll on May 28.
However, answering Republic TV's question over whether his party was ready to join a grand alliance against the BJP, a party it has been in alliance with for over two decades apart from recent statements that it would not be a part of the NDA for the 2019 elections, Arvind Sawant at first said, "Right now, it's not a question of being a part of a grand alliance. The government failed miserably to deliver acche din which it promised. Therefore, we have to defeat them for which we should come together."
When asked about when they should come together, Sawant said that there was a lot of time and they would wait through it.
Speaking on West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her Andhra Pradesh counter-part Chandrababu Naidu's statements about the strength of regional parties and the need for them to come together, Sawant said that regional parties coming together is a good appeal. "They should talk to Uddhav Thackeray ji. If he considers, we'll see", he said when asked about whether they would consider a proposal should it arrive, adding, "If proposal comes, naturally we'll think about it and party chief will take a decision on it."
Finally, in response to a direct question on whether the Shiv Sena was open to a grand alliance to defeat the BJP, the Sena leader offered his clearest answer, saying, "we are open".