The entire prime-time debates and news reports are based on speculations whereas the truth is far away from what meets the eyes. Mumbai is Shiv Sena’s stronghold but still, Eknath managed to flee with Shiv Sena MLAs without leaving any hint and ironically his constituency people are strongly supporting him. Eknath got people’s support just because he made his stand clear that he loves his leaders but refused to accept the unnatural alliance. The 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who are camping in Guwahati sent a second letter to Maharashtra Assembly’s Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, reaffirming that Eknath Shinde will remain their group leader in the legislature. The letter stated that Eknath Shinde will be the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party, while Bharatshet Gogawale will be the Chief Whip of the Shiv Sena.
In a last-ditch attempt to keep his flock together, Uddhav Thackeray met the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporators. While Thackeray has been holding meetings with the district presidents to see where the party cadre stands, with the migration of a majority of the MLAs to the Eknath Shinde camp, all eyes are on this meeting with the corporators. After MLAs are followed by MPs, the next big split within the party is going to be among corporators of the BMC. There will be an impact on the BMC polls to be held in October-November, which can further damage the party. Since the MLAs who were given notice of suspension by Shiv Sena are supporting Eknath Shinde’s revolt without fear of action, they do not find any attempt to plan for the withdrawal of MLAs. Shiv Sena leaders are waiting to find a way out of this. But they did not get it.
On the other hand, by ignoring and sidelining rural Maharashtra, Sena has lost an opportunity to script its own brand. Such a narrative would have helped Sena create a robust institutional network across the state, groom a young band of rural Sainiks from the BC-OBC and Adivasi communities, and bridge the urban-rural divide that threatens to tear the party apart. No wonder Shinde’s list of rebels includes many from the dusty plains of Maharashtra, including Dada Bhuse, Shambhuraj Desai and Pradeep Jaiswal, overall he claims to have 38 MLAs with him.
However, the Election Commission may have to face another battle and that would be the ‘bow and arrow’ of the Shiv Sena’s election symbol to be frozen first and then the Shinde group’s demand that we get it. In fact, the BJP will be more interested in Shinde and Kamp becoming BJP supporters in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Uddhav Thackeray closed all the MLAs, MPs and corporators; Shinde’s army will be the ‘real’ army. The real problem with this game of chance is if Uddhav Thackeray really tries to stand on his own two feet. No matter how much we think about intellectuals, our politics is based on emotions.
There is no denying that Shiv Sena is a party running on pure emotion. Due to this, Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, who became weak after many rifts, bowed down at the meeting in Shivaji Park and an election was held on that one salutation. So much so that in the last assembly elections, Sharad Pawar, who was in his eighties, held a campaign rally in the pouring rain and changed the winds of the elections. The BJP’s specialty is to play this emotional game perfectly without emotion. The left does not care about these sentiments, so they win the debate, but lose the election.
While it is becoming clear that the BJP’s intention is to overthrow Uddhav Thackeray and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government by doing anything before the forthcoming Mumbai Municipal Corporation elections. Although the Eknath Shinde revolt has succeeded in diverting the attention of the masses from the burning issues in India like Agniveer, Hindu killings in Kashmir and so on. There is no doubt that the next battle will be fought on the streets. Shinde is a leader of protestors who can accumulate resources. He has so far fulfilled the responsibilities of the leader. Even after this, their condition will not change much. At the same time, the size and shape of the assets to be deposited may change. This is because BJP does not need Shinde for resources. BJP does not need Shinde as much as Shiv Sena needs him. Shinde announced his departure from Guwahati but later on postponed it.
Here the situation for Thackeray continues to become grimmer with his close aide switching sides and the chief minister himself falling short of numbers. It seems that the legacy of Bal Thackeray, who founded Shiv Sena, has slipped from the hands of Uddhav Thackeray with the rebellion of Eknath Shinde as he claims of being a true Shivsainik, the battle of who holds the true legacy of Balasaheb has started. Let us see what time unfolds.