Any political analyst would be able to point out that Shiv Sena has become a laughing stock since last week. It’s bemusing to see the party has changed its stand on NDA Government’s demonetization move multiple times within one week.
I wish to declare that I was associated with party’s students’ wing-BVS during my college days. I understand Sena’s way of functioning and most of my friends are Shiv Sainiks.
Before elaborating about the problems that Sena is facing, let’s listen to what BJP’s leader late Pramod Mahajan had said about Shiv Sena while interacting with journalist Karan Thapar during his show ‘Hard Talk India’ in August 2001.
“Shiv Sena as a party has always behaved in a manner that they want to have the pleasure of being in the government also and they want to occupy the opposition space as well.”
(Watch the following video from @5:10 to @ 5:40)
Late Pramod Mahajan’s statement stands true even today. Sena is a part of NDA at the center and state, but sometimes it openly opposes the government’s move.
Unusual alliance to share stage
This week, when leadership declared that they may join Mamata Banerjee’s delegation against demonetization; some of the hardcore Shiv Sainiks were seen fuming. Behind closed door, most of the Shiv Sainiks do not agree with the party’s decision to stand along Mamata Banerjee.
West Bengal’s chief minister is seen as someone who follows Muslim appeasement policy and is allegedly supporting Islamisation of West Bengal. On the other hand, Shiv Sena is country’s ONLY extreme Right-Wing political party.
Any political analyst from Maharashtra would be able to certify that the NCP and Congress workers are often rich, mostly involved in business. On the other hand, Shiv Sainiks belong to middle class, lower middle class, and poor income group. They had actually welcomed the decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes to curb black money on their social media accounts on November 8 and on the following day.
Sena workers from several parts of Maharashtra had also urged people to approach them with complaints against hospitals that refuse to accept old notes as per Government’s instructions.
But, on November 11, Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray made his stand clear. He pointed out during his press conference that the public is facing inconvenience and people may conduct their own surgical strike against the BJP for causing inconvenience. Party’s mouthpiece Saamana has been publishing mostly negative stories about the issue since then.
“If they can do it, so can we”
On being asked about the reason behind this unusual alliance formed between Sena and TMC against demonetization, party’s MP Arvind Sawant said if PM Modi can join Sharad Pawar and keep on praising him during various events, why can’t Sena MPs simply stand with WB chief minister?
Then, like a kite dancing in a hurricane, Sena came out in support of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad after he insulted Uri terror attacks martyrs.
To add more confusion, Sena MP and Union Minister Anant Geete told reporters that his party is not against the government’s demonetization move, but is just against the way it has been implemented. He interacted with journalists during the BRICS Forum in Chennai on Friday.
Party seems to be completely divided. Their MPs in Delhi and top leadership has taken a different stand. On the other hand, their spokespersons like Dr. Neelam Gorhe said on Marathi channels that they support the move, but are concerned about the inconvenience faced by the people.
Prime Minister Modi has kept his promise by initiating action against the corrupt. It won’t be wrong to claim that most of the Sena’s Lok Sabha MPs were ELECTED because they were in alliance with the BJP for polls in 2014. Sena and BJP contested Maharashtra State Assembly elections separately. They also faced several municipal polls without any alliance since 2014. But, when it comes to national issues, party’s supporters, workers, and office bearers should put their NATION FIRST instead of opposing each other for the sake of opposition. Else, people may perhaps conduct a surgical strike on Shiv Sena during elections.
By: Nitten Gokhaley
The author is a consultant journalist; you can follow him on Twitter- @nitten4u