While India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen delivering his historic plenary speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, back home BJP’s oldest and strong ally in the politically important state of Maharashtra, Shiv Sena threw a salvo at the PM and his party which created ripples in national media. Shiv Sena announced that it will have no alliance with the BJP in Lok Sabha as well as assembly elections of 2019. This is going to hurt the party significantly.
A dozen times in the past one year we have heard Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray expressing his anguish and anger against his coalition partner the BJP. But on Tuesday the cat was out of the bag as at Shiv Sena’s national executive meet party, MP Sanjay Raut proposed a resolution to sever ties with their 29-year-old partner using harsh words.
The resolution was passed unanimously. The Sena will not fight any election in the future in alliance with the BJP. Proposing this historic resolution, Sena MP Raut said “We have been alliance partners for long. We have tolerated a lot and we kept supporting the BJP but since we jointily assumed power in 2014, the BJP has not let one opportunity go of humiliating the Sena and damaging the Sena. We propose that we should not have any alliance in the future elections and we should fight future elections on our own strength”.
The Sena seems badly hurt. For now the party is not quitting the coalition government but is seen to be distancing itself from the BJP. This is significant because in 2014 polls BJP got its landmark majority in the parliament because of three states, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. With its 48 seats in Lok Sabha Maharashtra plays a very important role in BJP’s stability. Now if BJP’s principal political partner in this state is sounding so hurt and angry, it means alarm bells are ringing for the Hindu nationalist party before 2019.
The reasons behind why the Sena is so angry have been discussed many times and most know it very well. BJP National President Amit Shah and Mumbai city president Vinod Shelar have been very aggressively pushing the Sena to the corner last three years.
Now it would be interesting to see what the BJP would be planning next. It seems that the BJP is already preparing some small political outfits that can attack the Sena and keep it engaged. It now seems clear that the BJP will now provide tacit support to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and former Congressman Narayan Rane who both are very bitter opponents of Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray. BJP will now perhaps initiate Rane’s entry into state cabinet which has been pending for a while. This way they can make the Sena uncomfortable and put pressure on them to leave the government.
The Sena will hold on in the government for the time being but its going to be difficult for them to continue like this and they would perhaps be now looking at an exit from the government just a few months before the 2019 elections. How this battle between the two right wing political parties plays out may be unclear for now but it surely is going to be a colourful and dramatic fight between friends turned foes, for sure!