More than two weeks after Maharashtra election results, there is no clarity on who will form the government. Pre-poll alliance partners BJP and Shiv Sena are sparring over the CM post. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has given the Shiv Sena until 7.30 pm Monday to stake claim. The party has reached out to the Congress and the NCP for support.
ThePrint asks: Is Shiv Sena taking a huge political risk by separating from BJP in Maharashtra?
No choice for Shiv Sena but to break up. Uddhav Thackeray is under pressure due to BJP’s treatment
Vice President, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress
I don’t agree with the question. I don’t consider it a political risk. It is a political compulsion for the Shiv Sena. The party is hellbent on securing the chief minister’s post, and a 50-50 power-sharing arrangement.
The Shiv Sena has been in an alliance with the BJP for over 25 years now, but while being partners, they have been fighting with each other like cats and dogs. In 1995, under the leadership of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, things were different and better for the Shiv Sena.
The BJP has been ruling Maharashtra for the past five years. There is a lot of pressure on Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena after the way it has been treated by the BJP.
I don’t think separating from the BJP would be a risk for the Shiv Sena. The party has no choice but to break up with the BJP. It was planning to do so before the assembly election too. If you refer to the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece daily newspaper, Saamana, their editorials by Sena leader Sanjay Raut never praise the BJP. On the contrary, both parties have consistentlyabused each other. There was no other alternative left for the Shiv Sena in this political game.
By approaching NCP and Congress, the Shiv Sena is playing with fire
Bharat Kumar Raut
Former MP, Shiv Sena
It was a do-or-die situation for the Shiv Sena when it contested the Lok Sabha election earlier this year. It revived its alliance with the BJP. The Sena saw its biggest victory ever. The upbeat Sena leadership then started preparing for the assembly elections, hoping that the pact will remain intact. However, the BJP had other plans.
The seat-sharing pact was finalised only two days before the last day for filing nominations. Finally, a truce was reached on a 50-50 power-sharing condition. This was, of course, an unwritten agreement and the only witnesses to this were Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis, and Uddhav Thackray.
As expected, the results of the assembly elections favoured the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. The Shiv Sena was in a mood to celebrate, and wanted to share the CM post for two and a half years each. This was not acceptable to the BJP. The quarrels started and broke the alliance. Now that the alliance between the two Hindu parties has broken, the field has opened up for all political forces in Maharashtra.
The BJP called on the governor and admitted that it was not in a position to form the government. The ball is now in Shiv Sena’s court. It approached the NCP and the Congress for support. As I write this, it seems that these three political parties will form an alliance and jointly meet the governor.
In doing this, the Shiv Sena is playing with fire. Although it may get the CM post, the alliance will not be as easy as it thinks. With Sharad Pawar having 54 seats in his command, just two short of the Sena, he will ask for his share in the government. Meanwhile, the BJP will ensure that the new alliance does not sail through without problems.
Shiv Sena is only lusting for power. BJP wants to serve people of Maharashtra
In the 2014 Maharashtra assembly election, the BJP fought on 260 seats and won 122. We fought separately from the Shiv Sena and formed the government on our own. In the 2019 state elections, we fought in alliance with the Shiv Sena. So naturally, we fought fewer seats — 150, and won 105 of those. We are the single largest majority party.
Certain parties think power is more important than serving the people of one’s state. The Shiv Sena is more than welcome to stake its claim to form the government. I believe that the people of Maharashtra will give them a befitting answer to their lust for power.
To form a government, a certain number of seats is required, which the Shiv Sena has failed to win. At 56 seats, against our 105, they will not be able to form a government on their own. They are being forced to reach out to the opposition — the NCP and the Congress — to help them form a government.
The BJP is not lusting for power, it wants to serve the people. We will sit in the opposition if we have to. We will not do rajneeti on this.
It was very important for the Shiv Sena to get the chief minister’s post
The BJP and the Shiv Sena fought the Maharashtra elections separately in 2014, but the Shiv Sena didn’t leave the NDA then. In the past five years, the Sena has had a lot of grievances in terms of power-sharing. However, after the recent state elections, the relationship has turned bitter, reaching a point of no-return.
The Sena was left with no option but to try and form a government with the NCP and the Congress. It was very important for the party to get the chief minister’s post, which is why it fought so hard for it and, in the process, risked losing its alliance with the BJP.
The Shiv Sena was always afraid that the BJP would leave the alliance and fight independently. The BJP stopped playing the role of the younger brother to the party after 2014.
The Congress and the NCP are yet to decide on whether or not to ally with the Shiv Sena; the government’s stability depends on that. These two parties will definitely fight hard for portfolios in the ministry.
In the potential new equation, the NCP will be the dominant partner despite the Shiv Sena being the face of this alliance.
By Taran Deol, journalist at ThePrint
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