Breaking : Shiv Sena rules out future ties with BJP, Maharashtra politics gets more interesting

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has announced that his party will no longer enter into alliances with Bharatiya Janata Party for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections which are shortly due. Thackeray said that he is not worried about the BMC elections, and expressed confidence of Shiv Sena winning all the elections on its own. He also claimed that 25 years of the Shiv Sena were “wasted” because of alliances, referring to the alliance with BJP, and said that the fight has started.

While the Sena has “mawlas” (sainik) in its ranks, the BJP has “gundas,” Thackeray said. In his speech, he claimed that the BJP had hired the “gundas” since it doesn’t have the capacity to fight the sainiks of Shiv Sena. He said that Shiv Sena is not greedy for power and hence, will not care about the results of elections.

The relationship between Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena has been deteriorating since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when BJP swept all the seats of Mumbai, winning a total of 23 seats in Maharashtra, more than Shiv Sena’s tally of 17 seats. With BJP making huge inroads in Maharashtra and capturing the traditional Shiv Sena votes, it became the question of prestige for the Sena, which has always considered itself to be stronger than BJP in Maharashtra. Soon after, in the Maharashtra assembly elections, BJP raced ahead of Shiv Sena, winning 122 seats while Sena could only manage 63 seats.

Soon after the results of Maharashtra assembly elections were declared, Shiv Sena changed its attitude towards BJP. Initially, it did not offer its alliance to BJP which was seen as an act of negotiating for some key portfolios. However, the alliance did happen and has helped in a stable government in Maharashtra. However, Uddhav Thackeray has not exhibited any sign of a coalition partner as he has often indulged in mindless criticism of Narendra Modi and central government, despite being a part of NDA. In short, his stand has been just like that of an opposition party.

In Maharashtra, NCP came on third position in the assembly elections, securing 42 seats. While Shiv Sena was ‘playing games’ after the results were declared, NCP was willing to support BJP and help in the formation of stable government. Moreover, Narendra Modi and Sharad Pawar have been getting closer day by day which is evident from the two leaders appearing together on a few programs. Adding salt to the wound of Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar was also awarded Padma Vibhushan by Narendra Modi government. It seems that the dynamics of politics in Maharashtra is changing very fast, and the years ahead will be interesting.

Kshitij Mohan