Shiv Sena, the party known for its outspoken support of Hindutva, has turned ‘secular’ to make government in alliance with NCP and Congress. “The country and its very foundation is based on the word ‘secular’. You don’t ask farmers or jobless or the hungry their castes or religion…All the stakeholders in the country are secular,” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut to a reporter.
The point of contention between Shiv Sena and NCP was the use of the word- Secularism in the alliance’s Common Minimum Programme (CMP). Shiv Sena asked for a change in the wording, on which an NCP leader suggested the use of the “…will adhere to Preamble of Indian Constitution” instead of Secularism, to which all the parties agreed. But after a few hours, Sanjay Raut agreed to endorse the word Secularism too.
“All castes, classes and religions were welcomed in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom. He accepted all people as his own. No one should teach us the meaning of the word ‘secular’. I’d like to mention that the patriarch of Shiv Sena, Balasaheb Thackeray, is one of these leaders who said that the people should not swear on a religious text before saying something in the court. They should rather pledge to the Constitution of India,” he added.
The party has also supported the JNU protestors. Sena’s spokesperson slammed the Police and paramilitary action against the students, and also condemned the fees hike.
“JNU students protesting is valid in any democracy, as long as its peaceful . Over fee hike? – fair or unfair is debatable. However, for Delhi police to resort to violent lathi charge to stop the protests is sign of a system that is unable to handle dissent”, tweeted Chaturvedi.
JNU students protesting is valid in any democracy, as long as its peaceful . Over fee hike? – fair or unfair is debatable. However, for Delhi police to resort to violent lathi charge to stop the protests is sign of a system that is unable to handle dissent. https://t.co/Yl5kQiy3T2
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) November 20, 2019
The party said that if such brutal lathi-charge has happened in a Congress-ruled state, organizations like ABVP would have given a call for a nationwide protest. “The lathicharge on JNU students in Delhi was inhuman… The BJP would have created a ruckus in Parliament and organisations like ABVP would have given a call for nationwide bandh had such an incident taken place during the Congress rule,” said the party.
An editorial in Saamana argued that BJP and Modi became powerful through protests, and the party should not suppress democratic dissent. “They should not try to suppress democratic protests. BJP leaders stood with Anna Hazare in his anti-corruption movement. BJP should not forget that they came to power by protesting, “read the Saamna editorial.
The sudden turn of Shiv Sena on crucial ideological issues will cost the party committed voter base of the party.
In five decades of his political career, Bala Saheb Thackeray always saw Congress and NCP as opponents. In the mid-80s, Shiv Sena came to power at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), by defeating Congress party, which has ruled the municipal authority for decades.
Bala Saheb Thackeray has been a vocal opponent of Congress party, especially after Sonia Gandhi started controlling the party in the late 90s. Thackeray ferociously opposed Sonia Gandhi’s entry into politics and said that it would be better to hand over the country to British, rather than governed by an Italian lady.
Seven years after the death of the Hindutva icon, the party Supremo – Uddhav Thackeray made a phone call to Sonia Gandhi to seek her party’s support to form the government. In order to make his son Chief Minister of the state, Uddhav Thackeray is on the feet of the same Italian lady whom Bal Thackeray despised.
As per the agenda of Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the coalition, Shiv Sena has also given up on the demand to award Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar.
It is bizarre how the Shiv Sena is compromising on such critical issues. The party has clearly moved away with the strong ideological background that its founder, Balasaheb Thackrey had given to the party. Jammu & Kashmir BJP chief, Ravinder Raina, has also hit out at the UddhavThackrey led party over its attempt to form the government with the NCP and the Congress. He said, “Shiv Sena has insulted the memory of Balasaheb Thackeray who never compromised on the Hindutva ideology and principles. Shiv Sena has betrayed the people of this country.”
By compromising on both ideological issues on which Bal Thackeray popularized Shiv Sena among the common people of Maharashtra, the party has dug its own grave. Aditya Thackeray might become Chief Minister of the state for the next few years, but, by the next election, there will be no Shiv Sena for sure.