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HomeEditorialThe ‘Alliance’ for opportunity, does not last long

The ‘Alliance’ for opportunity, does not last long

BJP always irritated dominating Uddhav Thackeray after the demise of the Shiv Sena supremo Bala Saheb Thackeray. Uddhav was never so aggressive like his father, and Modi waves actually changed the attitude of the BJP. Finally, he has snapped its 25-year-old ties with the BJP for upcoming urban body polls in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena has made it clear that there will be no understanding with the BJP for the civic polls. Earlier, Shiv Sena accused BJP of ‘back-stabbing’. Uddhav Thackeray said that Shiv Sena ‘wasted those years by sticking with the BJP’. The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance broke over seat-sharing arrangement. The BJP is said to have rejected the Shiv Sena’s offer of 60 seats for the BMC polls.

But there is a possibility that Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena may enter into an alliance with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for the upcoming local body’ polls, as BJP has already switched its loyalties to NCP. Sena and MNS are believed to be in talks over a formal alliance for the civic polls. Shiv Sena and MNS leaders are in talks over a seat-sharing alliance. But, the talks are said to be in initial stage.

The MNS has conveyed its desire of contesting 50 seats for the BMC polls. The BMC house has 227 seats and the two parties are in discussion over 177-50 formulas where Shiv Sena may field 177 candidates while MNS will put up candidates on 50 seats. However, the two parties are not in negotiation for only BMC polls. If the alliance is stitched up between Shiv Sena and MNS, they will cover municipal polls in Nasik, Pune and Thane also. The MNS did not do well in the last assembly elections, when it secured only one seat out of 288. In the last BMC polls, the MNS won 27 seats while Shiv Sena won 77. The BJP has 31 corporators in the BMC. Shiv Sena and MNS had discussed a possible tie up for the civic polls last year also but no formal announcement could be made.

Interestingly, a day ago MNS had put up posters of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray in Dadar. The Shiv Sena had officially objected to the use of Bal Thackeray’s photograph by the MNS. But, now the two parties are in serious negotiation. The civic polls will be held in Maharashtra on February 21 and votes will be counted on February 23.

It is unlikely that Thackeray would have taken the decision in a huff. He must have weighed the pros and cons before severing Shiv Sena’s age-old ties with BJP. After deciding to go it alone in civic polls in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena on Saturday unleashed a stinging attack on BJP, Sena accused the BJP of going out of the way to flaunt its “secular credentials” and said it would not even hesitate to dub Chhatrapati Shivaji and Lokmanya Tilak as “anti-nationals” to serve its purpose. Though Shiv Sena has parted ways with BJP in the forthcoming elections to the municipal corporations and district panchayats, the two parties are still in alliance at two other levels- Assembly and Parliament. The number of seats won by Shiv Sena has been continuously decreasing over the years. Conversely, BJP has been improving its performance with each passing election.

BJP and Shiv Sena entered into alliance for the first time in 1989. Since then, Shiv Sena has won on more number of seats than BJP in every Assembly election except in 2014. However, even though BJP has bagged lesser number of seats, its performance has been better than Shiv Sena.

BJP’s strike rate has always been better than that of Shiv Sena. Despite contesting on lesser number of seats, BJP has not remained far behind Shiv Sena in registering victory on the number of seats.In the 2014 State polls, the two parties contested separately and fielded candidates against each other. While BJP won 122 seats, Shiv Sena bagged 63 of the 288 seats. For the first time ever, BJP contested separately and it won far more number of seats than its alliance partner. Though BJP fell short of majority, Shiv Sena offered support to run a coalition government.

In 1966, Bal Thackeray, founded the Shiv Sena as a political organisation. The Shiv Sena especially attracted a large number of unemployed Marathi youth, who were attracted by Thackeray’s charged anti-migrant oratory. Shiv Sena cadres became involved in various attacks against the South Indian communities, vandalizing South Indian restaurants and pressuring employers to hire Marathis. The Sena started placing more weight on the Hindutva ideology in the 1970s as the ‘sons of the soil’ cause was weakening. The party has been in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for Lok Sabha as well as Maharashtra Assembly since 1989. The two formed a government in Maharashtra between 1995-1999. The Sena was the opposition party in the state along with the BJP from 1999 to 2014. However, 25 years old alliance of Sena and BJP was broken in 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections over seat sharing issue and both contested elections independently. After the BJP became largest party in the 2014 Assembly elections, Sena declared that it would play the role of opposition but, after further negotiations, agreed to join the government in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena-BJP combine governs the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Traditionally the main strongholds of Shiv Sena have been Mumbai and the Konkan coastal areas. However, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections the result was reversed. The Shiv Sena made inroads in the interior parts of the state, while suffering losses in Mumbai. Since 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the relations between two parties stressed to an extent of getting further nastiest.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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