Has Shiv Sena blinked in Maharashtra stand-off?

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October 27, 2014

Mumbai: Last week, a newly elected Shiv Sena legislator from the Konkan area met with journalists for an informal discussion at Mantralaya, the building that houses the state secretariat.

October 27, 2014

Mumbai: Last week, a newly elected Shiv Sena legislator from the Konkan area met with journalists for an informal discussion at Mantralaya, the building that houses the state secretariat.

An editorial in Monday's edition of Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna offered unconditional support and best wishes to BJP's new chief minister for the progress and development of Maharashtra.

He admitted he was in favor of his party joining the government. His rationale: “15 years is too long a time in opposition; I have got elected as a legislator but what about other party activists? They also need to be accommodated in various government committees and corporations and that can happen only if we are in government”.

Then, there was the issue of respect, added this person, who asked not to be identified.

Bureaucrats listen to you only if you are part of the ruling coalition, the legislator said.

Has Shiv Sena blinked in Maharashtra stand-off?: An editorial in Monday's edition of Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna offered unconditional support and best wishes to BJP's new chief minister for the progress and development of Maharashtra.

Caught between a former ally that seems to have taken a hard stance, and party legislators eager to join the government, the leadership of the Shiv Sena is now sending out conciliatory signals to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), say people in the know.

The BJP may reciprocate, they add.

The Sena had no option, said an expert.

“Apart from party legislators being desperate to get their share of power and fear of Sena losing control of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai where it enjoys power (along) with the BJP, I believe the major reason behind Sena’s surrender is that a large number of its legislators and other leaders have criminal backgrounds and fear of next BJP government targeting these legislators forced the Sena leadership to surrender,” said political commentator Kumar Ketkar.

The BJP has already indicated that it will form the next government in the state with or without the support of Sena.

BJP legislators will meet in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon to elect new leader and the swearing-in of the ministry is scheduled for 31 October.

An editorial in Monday’s edition of Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna offered unconditional support and best wishes to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) new chief minister for the progress and development of Maharashtra.

In Maharashtra’s four-cornered electoral battle that pitted the BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) against each other, the BJP won 123 of the 288 seats in the assembly. The Sena did 63. The NCP, an one-time ally of the Congress, won 41 and was quick to offer unconditional support to the BJP. The Congress won 42 seats.

On 19 October, immediately after election results were announced, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said, “If needed, Sena is ready to sit in the opposition and will not approach any party with a proposal for alliance. However, we will consider the possibility of alliance if someone sends a proposal to us.”

Emboldened by the NCP’s offer, the BJP decided to play hardball.

The party had always been the minority partner in the decades-long partnership it had with the Shiv Sena and seems to have decided to press home its advantage.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh send back two Sena emissaries Subhash Desai and Anil Desai who rushed to Delhi last Tuesday to meet the BJP’s leadership.

They didn’t have an appointment, said a state BJP leader who asked not to be identified.

Prakash Pawar, head of department of political science at Shivaji University in Kolhapur said: “The BJP is ignoring Sena’s calls for truce because it can afford to do so. In Mumbai and Thane, for the first time, the BJP managed to carve out large chunk of middle class Marathi votes despite fighting against the Sena. Just like the middle class elsewhere in the country, the Marathi middle class in these parts also is sold on Modi’s dream of development. And the more the BJP ignores the Sena, more desperate the latter is becoming.”


Courtesy: LiveMint

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