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Shiv Sena to be kingmaker in 2019: Raut

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Shiv Sena cold to BJP's friendly overture

Addressing a press conference on April 6, Amit Shah had said the BJP hopes the Uddhav Thackeray-led party will continue to remain in the NDA fold.

The Shiv Sena will be the kingmaker after the general elections in 2019, party leader Sanjay Raut today said, while taunting its ally BJP that it is yet to "digest" the power.

"We will send an adequate number (of Lok Sabha MPs) to Parliament, which will make us kingmakers," Raut said, speaking to a web channel of a media group.

"The current dispensation, which has suddenly got power, is yet to digest it. Power needs to be digested. Power is like 'Kolhapuri Misal'. Those who have the capacity to digest it, digest it. Others face the consequence," Raut said, referring to the popular snack from Kolhapur which is known for its fieriness.

The BJP could not digest the power in Gorakhpur (where it lost a Lok Sabha by-election), he added.

"The Shiv Sena chief (Uddhav Thackeray) has clearly said we will go solo in 2019. If a decision is taken in the national executive meeting of the party, does it have importance or not?" Raut said. "We have taken a decision, so asking again and again if we will be with the BJP is useless. Our fight is with the BJP, not with the Congress or NCP. Even the BJP acknowledges this," he said.

The BJP is trying to create disillusionment among Sena workers by averring that the Sena will eventually form alliance with it in 2019, Raut alleged.

"However, our policy for the last 50 years is that we do not make a U-turn. (Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray never went back once he took a decision, and so is the case with Uddhav Thackeray," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

When asked why the Sena was not pulling out of the NDA like the TDP, Raut said the comparison was unfair.

"TDP's decision is more about the local politics and it has come out of its competition with the YSR Congress. The Shiv Sena will take its decision at appropriate time," he said.

The BJP should accept the verdict of recent byelecions in Uttar Pradesh and should not offer excuses such as low voter turnout for its defeat, the Sena leader said.

"A seat that was a Hindutva bastion since 1991 (Gorakhpur) has been snatched away from it, which itself is an indication that its popularity is declining," Raut said. PTI MM .