Maha: BJP's by-poll debacle puts Shiv Sena in driver's seat

By-polls encourage Sena to roar at BJP
The results of the by-polls in four States wherein the BJP got the taste of defeat could influence party's performance in the upcoming Assembly polls especially in Maharashtra. Till now, the party had clear edge over its old ally Shiv Sena in the State and was demanding more seats and Chief Ministerial post in the upcoming Assembly polls. But a day after the verdict showed the saffron party performing poorly in the bypolls, Sena has started raising questions over party's poll strategy.

Snubbing BJP over the results of Assembly by-polls, Shiv Sena that the elections cannot be won on 'wave' alone. Shiv Sena said that the 'Mahayuti' needs to pull up its socks and refrain from gloating over the "Modi wave" to fight the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Modi's midas touch has its limits

Three months after its spectacular showing in Lok Sabha polls, the BJP on Monday received a jolt in the assembly by-elections, suffering a 4-6 defeat at the hands of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance in Bihar and yielding two strongholds to Congress in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

BJP and Shiv Sena have been poll partners in Maharashtra since 1988

In Punjab, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress won one seat each. Out of the 18 seats in four states for which bypolls were held on August 21, Congress and its allies won 10 while seven went to BJP and one to its ally SAD.

Shiv Sena in an editorial in Saamna, said that the equations of States are different from the Central politics and 'Modi wave' cannot work everywhere. "People want a change of power in Maharashtra. But we cannot win elections by only talking about winning. (Narendra) Modi has been given a strong mandate to head the country. But the factors that come into play during State elections are different," the editorial said.

Is it silent exultation in Shiv Sena camp

The Shiv Sena was under pressure from BJP to alter the seat-sharing and power-sharing pacts for the upcoming Assembly elections. But, now the results which are termed as 'wake-up call' for the BJP will give it a good handle during final rounds of seat negotiations.

The Shiv Sena has been playing role of big brother in the alliance, but post Lok Sabha poll, the BJP is trying to turn the tables by claiming that ground realities have changed. The BJP said that the Sena itself got the 18 seats in Lok Sabha poll due to Modi factor.

Post bypoll defeat, Sena gets upper hand

There is no denying the fact that the result of by-polls could influence political equations of the BJP in the States where Assembly polls are due in the recent months. Sena's warning came at a time when the alliance is going through rough water and both parties wrangling over certain issues.

The BJP which was in no mood to play second fiddle to its old ally post the Lok Sabha poll, will now have to give in its demands of larger share in seat-sharing. 

BJP and Shiv Sena have been poll partners in Maharashtra since 1988 and have fought all polls together since then. In 2009 State Assembly polls, the BJP contested 119 seats while the Shiv Sena fielded its candidates in 169 constituencies. Earlier, in the two Assembly polls, the BJP had contested from 117 seats, while the Sena 171. The alliance has ruled the State from 1995-99. Riding on 'Modi wave', the alliance gave a spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha polls as they won 42 out of 48 seats. The alliance got 2.50 crore votes in Maharashtra, which was close of 52 per cent. Out of which BJP got 1.33 crore voters, which was 28 per cent and Sena received one crore votes (21 per cent).

The editorial added that the BJP should "learn a lesson" from the results of the by-polls and "self-introspect" on what went wrong.

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