SENA’S UNDOING… Shiv Sena caught in unenviable situation; either a break-up or a climb-down likely

Power tussle in Maharashtra

MUMBAI: It could be the beginning of the end for Shiv Sena –likely and unlikely. By entering into a hard bargaining with the BJP at the crucial hour before the formation of an alliance ministry, the Sena bared its fangs, but BJP chief Amit Shah was only amused, not provoked. “Hold on, we will see…,” he told chief minister designate Devendra Fadnavis. The ministry formation delayed – a full week by now after the assembly poll results were announced, and the Shiv Sena kept mounting pressure on the BJP, but to no avail.
Notably, all through the last five years of BJP-Sena alliance rule in Maharashtra, the Sena made it a point to flex its muscles, more often than not. It teased the BJP and Modi no end, sided with the Opposition in targeting the Modi government through verbal assaults, and yet shared power. The BJP tolerated the Sena all these while because the other option was of the NCP of Sharad Pawar, which has an image problem vis a vis corruption even as it held sway over the Maratha belt in Western Maharashtra.
Now, the Sena’s calculations were these: PM Modi had already burnt bridge with NCP and Sharad Pawar by initiating cases of serious natures against them, to a point where Sharad Pawar could even follow the path of P Chidambaram to jail, in the company of his trusted lieutenant Praful Patel. The Congress would not back the BJP anyway in forming a new ministry. The BJP has no choice but to bend to the whims of the Sena and its chief Uddhav Thackeray. So, make wild demands and get the BJP to dance to Sena’s tunes.
The Sena came up with three major demands. One, deputy CM post for the Thackeray family’s new face, Aditya, who won the Worli seat. Two, the CM post should be rotated between the BJP and the Sena, splitting the five-year-term into two, so that Aditya could become CM after two and a half years. Three, share minister posts on a 50:50 basis, though the BJP has won 105 seats and the Sena only 56 seats – in a 289-member house where the NCP has 54 seats and the Congress 44. Of the total, one seat is reserved for a nominated member. The Sena’s aim was to call all the shots. Now, it would appear that, instead, its bluff will be called. Amit Shah made it very clear that if the Sena wants to be part of the new ministry, it should be on BJP’s terms, and not on Sena’s terms.

In the present assembly polls, the BJP reduced its assembly strength by 17 and Sena by seven; signifying limited appeal for the Fadnavis-led rule.
The BJP is holding its legislature party meeting on Wednesday, to elect its leader in the house. All calculations at present favour a repeat five years for Fadnavis as legislature party leader and CM. Amit Shah will not be attending the meeting but has deputed two senior hands to oversee the process. They are Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP vice president Avinash Rai Khanna.
It appears Amit Shah’s game plan will unfold like this: form the ministry first and then seek a vote of confidence. In the event, there is every chance of the Shiv Sena itself being made to break up in the new assembly. Some 13 independents and a few small-time parties are being roped in to back the BJP in the assembly.
The CPIM has won one seat, as it did last time too, and the AIMIM two seats, but they would not back BJP. Others could.
Word spread that some 45 newly elected assembly members of the Shiv Sena got in touch with the BJP and Fadnavis to promise their individual support if the Sena refused to back the new ministry. This news came for a bombshell at Matoshree, the headquarters of the Sena in Bandra, from where Bal Thackeray roared for decades before his demise in 2012, leaving the baton to son Uddhav Thackeray and sidelining his nephew, Raj Thackeray, who went on to form a rebel outfit by name Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS). The MNS contested 103 seats and won one seat, demonstrating its irrelevance.
With BJP refusing to yield ground to the Sena tantrums, and Amit Shah has many aces up his sleeves, there is little that the Sena can do at this point of time. If there is no power, the Shiv Sena is bound to disintegrate, which will be more advantageous to the BJP. Uddhav Thackeray knows as much. The course open to him is to effect a climb-down, though it means a major loss of face to him and the Shiv Sena.

Worse come to worse, the BJP would relent and give deputy CM post to Sena, meaning Aditya. He is the first elected representative from the Thackeray family. Neither Bal Thackeray nor son Uddhav Thackeray had ever contested elections or held government posts.  IHN-NN


Alliance Party Candidates[20][21] Votes won Seats won
% +/- No. % +/-
NDA BJP 152 25.75 Decrease-2.1 105 36.5 Decrease -17
SS 124 16.41 Decrease -2.9 56 19.4 Decrease-7
RPI(A) 4 0
SSP 3 0
RKS 3 0
RSP 2 1
UPA INC 147 15.87 Decrease -2.1 44 15.3 Increase+2
NCP 121 16.71 Decrease -0.5 54 18.8 Increase+13
PWP 6 1 Decrease-2
SWP 4 1
RPI(K) 3 0
BVA 3 3
BRSP 2 0
Independent 1 1
LDF[12] CPI 16 0 Steady
CPI(M) 8 0.37 1 Steady
None AAP 24 0 Steady
MNS 103 2.25 Decrease-0.4 1 Steady
VBA 288 0
AIMIM 44 1.34 Increase+0.4 2 Steady
SP[6] 7 0.22 2
Independents 12

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s