BJP has lost an old ally in the power tussle for the Chief Minister post in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena and BJP have always shared a bitter-sweet relation, agreeing and disagreeing on a myriad of issues. The disagreement on the Maharashtra government turned out to be a breaking point in the decades-long relations. BJP is likely to sit in the opposition if Shiv Sena and NCP form government with the help of Congress.
In the words of a senior BJP leader, this is not the first time that Shiv Sena has parted ways with BJP. It happened before the 2014 assembly elections and it has happened again now. We cannot rely on any political party in future and instead we should strengthen our own organisation and give more opportunities to BJP workers who want to contest elections.
BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the recently concluded assembly elections together but the two partners failed to reach an understanding over government formation in the state. Though BJP and Shiv Sena had a clear majority in the assembly, Shiv Sena turned its back on NDA because the regional party wanted the post of Chief Minister.
Conversations between BJP and Shiv Sena failed because the latter wanted the chief minister’s post on rotation for both the parties and 50-50 share in the government which it claims had been decided before the Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena has collected all its MLAs to a resort at Madh Island in the Western suburbs of Mumbai. This step has been taken to prevent any kind of poaching attempts by the BJP which the BJP is notorious for.
Shiv Sena’s severing ties with the NDA also highlights how the ruling party’s expansionist drive under Modi and Amit Shah has made its allies of decades uneasy. The annulment between the two parties joined by the Hindutva ideology finally happened after a dwindling relationship over the last five years. The first tension in their ties surfaced in the 2014 assembly polls when they fought separately after Sena’s refusal to part with the number of seats the BJP wanted. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to an unprecedented win in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it sensed an opportunity in Maharashtra to out Shiv Sena from the position of senior ally, a position the party had enjoyed till recently.
Hindutva had been the cement that bound the Shiv Sena and the BJP together for 35 years despite intense rivalry for same vote bank. Now the Shiv Sena is so firm against the alliance with BJP that Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut declared that he won’t go with the BJP even if Lord Indra’s throne is offered. He is also confident that the Shiv Sena would have the chief minister’s post for a full five-year term after Maharashtra government formation.
The Shiv Sena has been waiting for the NCP and Congress to make up their mind after ending its alliance with the BJP and Congress has finally met with NCP to form an alliance. This is a huge power shift in the Indian politics and provides a much required check and balance to the expansionist agenda of BJP under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance will ensure a progressive, developing tenure for the masses of the Maharashtra.