The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is demanding a ban on its former ally Shiv Sena’s editorial mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ for three days. Reason: The party claims that publishing content amid the ongoing BMC elections should not be allowed. The elections to 10 municipal corporations and 25 Zilla Parishads in Maharashtra is being held in two phases on February 16 and 21.

State BJP spokesperson Shweta Shalini had in a letter to the Election Commission asked for a ban on Saamana for three days: February 16, 20 and 21.

However, Shiv Sena has hit back at the BJP claiming that the directive being asked to be issued can be compared to Emergency. “If you blame Indira Gandhi for imposing Emergency, isn’t this an Emergency? Saamana’s closure is not possible ever,” Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said while addressing a campaign rally in Pune.

He also questioned that if such a decision is being asked to be taken, why are the CMs and PM being allowed to visit poll-bound states for campaigning. “Why are Chief Minister and Prime Minister going to poll-bound areas for campaigning? Forget all these dates, as long as the model code of conduct is in force, CM and PM should not be allowed to do campaigning,” he said.

Amid talks of coalitions between parties, Thackeray said, “today I declare that I too have a setting and that is with the masses of Maharashtra.”

Meanwhile, the Congress has alleged that the feud between the Shiv Sena and BJP was merely a “hogwash” to divert the attention of people from the “scams” that have taken place in their regime in the state. “The tug of war between Sena and BJP ahead of civic polls was a hogwash aimed at diverting the voters’ attention from their failures in the state and the Mumbai civic body where the two parties are allies,” state unit Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.