Shiv Sena is a long-time member of India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But, during the last Maharashtra state assembly elections both the parties went their separate ways over seat distribution and contested elections alone. The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single largest party in the elections, but in order to get the throne of Maharashtra both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena coalesced again. Since then the Shiv Sena has been a ‘bitter frenemy’ of the BJP. It has failed to fulfil the role of a good coalition partner and acted more as an staunch opponent of the BJP. It also stepped out of no-confidence motion against the NDA government.
When the BJP asked for Shiv Sena’s support for the election of the Rajya Sabha deputy speaker, it got it without any delay. Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said, “Amit Shah called up Uddhav-ji today and sought Shiv Sena’s support. We have decided to give our support to the JD(U) because the post of deputy chairman is apolitical.” This sudden pacifism of Shiv Sena is surprising because Sanjay Raut had earlier said that the party would wait for both sides to announce the name of their candidates and then choose.
It looks like Uddhav Thackeray has finally realized that for the party’s survival, he has to leave his ego behind and make some changes. Under the misleadership of Uddhav Thackeray Shiv Sena has suffered a huge debacle. Modi-Shah duo’s smart politics first reduced him to play second fiddle in the alliance, and now Fadnavis’ political acumen is pushing him to oblivion.
Of course, Uddhav isn’t happy that they have been pushed to play second fiddle at every level, but after the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) elections and Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC) elections perhaps, it seems he has decided to restore harmony considering the fact that Fadnavis is a force to be reckoned with.
Moreover, apprehensions of rift within Shiv Sena must have shaken him up. Just few days ago, BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan tweeted that an MP of Shiv Sena told him that he supports the stand of Modi government on SC/ST act and that Uddhav may not be having knowledge on this act.
Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray had described Modi government’s decision to strengthen SC/ST act as a step towards the division of society.
It seems that ground realities are now showing a clear picture as a result of this Uddhav Thackeray has finally began to start understanding the electoral arithmetic. If Shiv Sena decides to go alone in 2019 General elections without BJP then it will have to face defeat. Shiv Sena would end up losing all political power and relevance. On the other hand, the BJP might still sail through though its winning margins won’t be monumental. In fact, according to media reports, the BJP president Amit Shah has asked its Maharashtra leaders to prepare a blueprint to fight for all the 48 seats in the state alone. After the Maharashtra state assembly elections, the BJP contested many elections without Shiv Sena and it has delivered splendid performance in all those elections.