Despite being a member of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Shiv Sena on Thursday (28 March) announced that it would be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on 15 seats of the total 42 against heavyweights Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reports India Today.
This would be the first instance of Shiv Sena fighting the polls in West Bengal. Earlier during 2016 state assembly election, Shiv Sena had contested 18 seats but failed to make any impact.
"All the tainted leaders of the TMC have joined the BJP making it an extended part of the ruling party. They are all tainted TMC leader accused in the Saradha and Narada cases," Ashok Sarkar, party's state general secretary told India Today TV while referring to leaders like Mukul Roy and Sankudeb Panda, both of whom were quizzed by the CBI.
While announcing candidates from Tamluk, Contai, Midnapur, North Kolkata, Purulia, Barrackpore, Bankura, Barasat, Bishnupur, North Malda, Jadavpur, he further added he would be contesting Midnapur Lok Sabha seat against the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh and the TMC's Manas Bhunia.
Taking a jibe at both TMC and BJP he said, "The BJP leadership in Bengal can never fight the TMC. That is why Shiv Sena has entered the fray."
Shiv Sena has decided to field only Hindu candidates and claims their fight is to save Hindutva.
Its entry into Bengal might trouble the BJP by eating into the Hindu votebase. This comes in the backdrop of growing bonhomie between Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
In 2017, soon after a meeting between the two leaders in Mumbai, Sena mouthpiece Saamana had described Mamata Banerjee as a 'tigress' who had ended the 25-year-long Communist rule in West Bengal.