What is Shiv Sena doing now?
Taking an apparent dig at BJP, Shiv Sena on Saturday said that it was its leader Bal Thackeray who stood up for Hindutva while others used it as a "shield for political gains" and warned that "those who came to conquer Maharashtra were buried in the state's soil".
"The battle (for October 15 Assembly polls) is one for self-respect," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.
"Be it Aurangzeb or Afzal Khan, those who came with vested interests were either buried here or became extinct," the editorial said.
"After Shivaji Maharaj, it was Bal Thackeray who created history. Shivaji set up the Hindavi Swarajya but it was the late Sena chief who had the determination to unfurl the Hindutva flag in the country," it said.
Shiv Sena's adamant attitude reflects its brazenness
Well, if one looks at Shiv Sena's performance in its bastion, Maharashtra, the party's popularity has dipped but its leadership is not ready to accept it. This has perhaps forced the BJP to part ways with the former and explore further cement its ground in the state.
If one looks at the performance of both these parties in last Assembly polls and the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, then an interesting figure comes into light.
Shiv Sena, despite projecting itself as the most popular party in Maharashtra, has not performed better than the BJP. BJP's record and in has always been better than the Shiv Sena, even during the times of Bal Thackeray.
Statistics tell a different tale
2014 Lok Sabha polls
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls the BJP-Sena Sena alliance had created history by decimating rival UPA alliance.
The BJP had won 23 out of 24 seats it had contested in Maharashtra while Shiv Sena bagged 18 of the 20 Parliamentary seats it had fielded candidates. Though the margin of seats between the two is just one but the vote share of the duo shows BJP was way ahead of its partner. The BJP's vote share was 27.6 per cent while Sena's was just 20.8 per cent.
2009 Assembly polls
BJP had won 46 out of 119 seats it had contested while Sena bagged just 42 of the 160 assembly segments it had contested. The vote share between the two parties was also not much since an 'outsider' BJP received 14 per cent of votes while 'insider' Sena bagged 16.3 per cent of the total votes in the poll which was swept by the Congress-NCP alliance.
1999 Assembly polls
BJP-Sena were over confident of returning to power and had contested elections six months ahead of the stipulated time. The people of Maharashtra went with the Congress this time. Congress entered a post-poll alliance with NCP in the 288 member assembly.
This time the incumbent Shiv Sena had won 69 of 161 seats it had fought and achieved a vote share of 17.3%. While the BJP secured 56 of 117 seats it had contested and received 14.5% of the total.
Sena's performance has decreased while BJP's graph has improved
Thus, going with the performance of the two in the last elections it is quite clear that Sena's hold in its own backyard has seen a drop on the contrary the BJP has cemented its grounds. Also, Sena's leaders have started jumping ships, the moment BJP announced ending its alliance with Sena. Hence, it seems these are alarming situations for the Uddhav Thackeray camp and that is the reason it has started attacking the BJP and is raising the Marathi and Hindutva plank to polarise voters.
Shiv Sena's arrogance came to the fore the moment it started setting terms in front of the BJP and portraying itself as a bigger party. The party is projecting itself as being back stabbed by the later but in reality it was ego that soured the 25-year-long alliance and icing on the cake is that the party is yet not ready to accept it.
Shiv Sena, instead of learning from its past mistakes, consistently pressed a bigger share for the pie and one just hopes this doesn't costs the party too dearly.