Maha polls: Why Shiv Sena putting BJP on tenter-hooks

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray
With Assembly elections a few days away, the sabre-rattling between the BJP and its old ally Shiv Sena has intensified despite the spectacular show of the alliance in the Lok Sabha polls. The ties between the two allies are at all time low, obviously over the seat-sharing and Chief Ministerial post. Now, both the parties have come up with two separate formulae and are adamant about not stepping back.

This fight is escalating day by day even after both know that the alliance has to continue and they cannot afford to go alone in the ensuing polls. BJP, which has always played a second fiddle in the alliance, may be wrong in asking lions' share but Shiv Sena, on its part, is also not fulfilling duty of an elder brother. Instead, it keep looking for chance to arm twist its most trusted ally. Sena's high handedness and rhetoric in the last few days have further strained the relations.

Sena taunts BJP over by-poll defeat

After a dismal performance by BJP in the Assembly bypolls, Shiv Sena reacted sharply to it and asked the party to take lesson from the results.

In an article in the party's mouthpiece Saamna, Sena said, "This is a big lesson for Maharashtra elections. This is for everyone. Our feet should be on the ground. These results are not only surprising but also unexpected."
The party said, "Keep your feet on ground. Don't get swayed by the frenzy of victory (in Lok Sabha polls). Only those who learn this lesson will win Maharashtra. Or else the public will do the needful."

The BJP was dealt a severe blow in its strongholds in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat when it lost 13 of the 23 seats held by it there while the Congress put up a surprise showing in two of these States in the Assembly by-elections.

Uddhav questioned 'Modi wave'

In spite on focussing on preparations for the upcoming Polls, the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray keep on targeting BJP and its leaders. Recently, in his television interview, Thackeray questioned Modi wave, saying that 'Modi wave' have failed in various States and BJPs victory in Lok Sabha polls is not just confined only to Modi but also to its alliance partners.

In the Lok Sabha polls, Uddhav said, people voted for a 'face' (Modi) for a change and Shiv Sena's contribution in the victory in Maharashtra cannot be ignored.

"Did the Modi wave show in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Orissa and West Bengal? It depends on alliance partners as well. Modi is Prime Minister of our alliance," he said.

Following this, the BJP called off seat-sharing talks with Sena.

Speaking on the issue, State BJP president Devendra Fadanvis said there is huge discontent among the party rank over the statements made by Thackeray.

Projecting Thackeray as CM candidate sour the relations

Obviously, the chief ministership of an important State like Maharashtra is an important thing and both parties have their eyes set on the coveted chair. But, Sena's move to declare its party chief Uddhav Thackeray for the post is not a good sign for healthy alliance. Through the slogans like 'Delhi mein Modi sarkar aur Maharastra mein Uddhav Thackeray sarkar' (In Delhi, there is Modi Government and in Maharashtra it will be Uddhav Thackeray's Government), Sena has put its claim on the CM post.
The Shiv Sena should have ideally waited for the election results before making such announcement. This move surely has not gone down well with the BJP and has further strained the relation.

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

This is not the first time, Sena is confronting with BJP, but in the past too, the party had wrangled over some issues. Be it consensus on voting in favour of Prathiba Devi Singh Patil or Pranab Mukherjee for Presidential post where Shiv Sena opted not to follow BJP's footprint or lashing out at BJP for increase in rail fares, Shiv Sena left no chance to criticise BJP.
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.
This elections gives the Sena-BJP alliance the best chance to come to power in the State after 15 years. Both of them know, without an alliance, both the parties would stand to lose and their in fighting will give advantage to the Congress-NCP alliance which is heading toward a distraous defeat in ensuing Assembly polls.
So, instead of fighting with eachother, BJP and Sena should unite to give a tough fight to Congress-NCP alliance in the Assembly polls.

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