Maharashtra may slip from the grip of BJP as Shiv Sena will go alone in 2019 elections

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Since 1989 the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is contesting elections in Maharashtra as both the parties are thick allies and moreover it is Shiv Sena which allowed the BJP to take a foothold in the state. The BJP emerged as a national party exploiting the Mandir-Masjid issue in nineties, but in Maharashtra, it was the Shiv Sena which helped it curve the political identity and then climb the ladder of mass popularity. However, in 2014, the Modi wave pushed the BJP ahead of its ally. The BJP got 122 seats and the Shiv Sena could get only 63. The ties got sour in the alliance government, and the two parties drifted apart. The differences between two parties took acute turn, when in 2017, the two parties contested Mumbai civic polls separately and the Shiv Sena captured the Mumbai Metropolitan Council. Then onwards it was clear that the Shiv Sena will part its ways with the BJP sooner than later. The executive meeting of the Sena decided to strengthen the party on national level and contest elections without going for alliance with any party.

Now the Shiv Sena announced to go it alone in the 2019 elections. The party will not break its way with the state or the central government where it represents as an ally of the BJP. It is a hard bargain for the BJP. The fast decline in the grassroot support of the BJP and the graph of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mass appeal coming down in the wake of the decision on demonetization and introduction of the GST, must have been crucial points when the Shiv Sena discussed the alliance. The Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and the party’s political organ Samana has been targeting the Prime Minister and the NDA government at the centre for anti-people policies for a long time in the past.

Against this scenario, the BJP is bound to lose its ground in Maharashtra. In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan the ruling party BJP is already facing rough weather and now Maharasthra is added to them. In all these three states, Congress is the leading party to tilt the balance in its favour in the coming elections. While Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are poll-bound this year, Maharashtra’s assembly polls will coincide with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

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