It is time Uddhav swallows pride, seeks post-poll alliance with BJP

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Will Uddhav bow to Modi for alliance?
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Mumbai to inaugurate Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, all eyes will be on Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who is expected to meet the PM and talk over government formation in Maharashtra. It must be understood that forging an alliance with the BJP is only option for the Sena if it wants to taste power.

BJP outclassed Sena in every department

Sena, which has centered itself to Maharashatra and Marathi politics, had to face humiliation as its friend-turned-foe BJP bagged nearly twice its seats (122 seats) while the former won just 63 seats of in the 288-member Maha assembly. To add more to party's humiliation, the party received a dismal 19.5 per cent of votes while the BJP got the lion's share with 28.1 per cent of the votes in its favour.

Reasons for Shiv Sena's loss 

Shiv Sena, which was a former BJP ally in Maharashtra and is in alliance at Centre, has softened its tone and tenor against the BJP ever since poll results were declared on last Sunday. The BJP, which received a whopping 122 seats on its own in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, is set to form the government in the state.

[Read: Maharashtra: Uddhav's arrogance took the toll on Shiv Sena's performance]

Sena which was confident about teaching the BJP a lesson for breaking 25-year-old alliance paid the price of showing arrogance and playing victim card. A terrible defeat at the hands of the BJP has forced Uddhav, who went all guns blazing against the BJP and Prime Minister Modi, to realise that his popularity completely fizzled out in front of Modi's. The common man voted for the BJP that was so far considered second player in the state. The people's mandate has placed the BJP far ahead in the race.

Hence, speculations are rife that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will definitely meet PM Modi to seek a post-poll alliance with the BJP.

Why Sena should join hands with the BJP?

Experts are of the view that it is in Sena's best interests to regain its popularity and above all joining hands with the former ally will also fulfill the party's 15-year-old dream of coming to power. This would also save the Shiv Sena's alliance with the BJP at centre. Also, the party would also be needing the BJP's support to keep its funding intact as it has an alliance with the BJP in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), India's richest municipal corporation. Shiv Sena's control of the BMC is party's lifeblood in Mumbai.

There is quite a possibility that Sena's control over BMC will be lost if its relation with the BJP ends. Sena has 75 corporators in the 277-member BMC house. It has the support of 31 BJP corporators along with Independents to remain in power. But, if the BJP withdraws its support the party will have to depend on others or lose power. The party would not want that to happen and hence Uddhav would try to mend relations with Modi.

Sena's support is in BJP's interest as well

Experts feel that the BJP will be quite comfortable in once again sealing its alliance with Shiv Sena as it too requires a strong party's support for a stable government in Maharashtra. The BJP plus one ally together has 123 seats and it still needs support of 23 MLAs to get full majority, and Shiv Sena's 63 would solve the purpose. The party cannot depend on Independents and outside support of the NCP which is also BJP's rival.

Hence, Uddhav should leave his arrogance behind, reach out to Modi and make him realise that the two still need each others' support to rule Maharashtra. Modi's Mumbai visit could just be a blessing in disguise for Uddhav. He must understand the signal from the BJP and act wisely.

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