Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, the recalcitrant ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, continued to hurl darts at its partner at the Centre and Maharashtra, this time over the economic slowdown. In an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Shiv Sena borrowed a dialogue from the Hindi blockbuster ‘Sholay’ to take a swipe at the BJP.

“…Itna sannata kyon hai bhai?” (why is there so much silence) is the question resonating everywhere on “silence” over the future of the country and Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

The editorial went on to blame the 2016 decision to demonetise high-value currency notes and what it described as a “faulty implementation” of the Goods and Services Tax for the state of the economy. This perspective mirrors the Congress-led opposition’s diagnosis of the economy.

“Markets have lost shine as sales figures have dropped by 30 to 40 per cent due to the looming fear of slowdown.

Industries are suffering while some manufacturing units have closed down, leading to joblessness,” it said.

Several banks are facing a financial crisis and people have no money to spend, the editorial said. “On the other hand, the government is also forced to draw funds from the RBI’s reserves. There is silence in markets on Diwali, but foreign companies, through online shopping platforms, have been filling up their coffers with the country’s money,” the Sena mouthpiece rued in its editorial, according to news agency PTI.

“Unfortunately, nobody talks about how to bring farmers out of this,” said the Sena, which is an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra. There was less clamour and “more silence” during the state Assembly polls held on the eve of Diwali, it claimed.

The pinprick comes at a time the alliance partners, Shiv Sena and the BJP, are locked in a dispute over formation of the new government in the state. The Sena, which believes its alliance partner has been squeezing it out to carve out a larger role for itself, wants the BJP to share the chief minister’s post rather than play second fiddle to it.

The Sena did compromise in the run-up to the election when it let the BJP field candidates on a larger number of seats, effectively ceding the status of a senior partner. It was the first time that the Sena had, as part of its alliance with the BJP, had fielded fewer candidates than its ally.

The renewed stress on 50-50 sharing of power after the election results came in an attempt to undo rewrite the alliance rules altered due to the seat-sharing pact that it had accepted as a compromise.

The Sena contested elections on 124 seats of the 288-member assembly and won 56 while the BJP contested 164 seats and won 105.

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