19 June 1966. 53 years ago in Bombay [now Mumbai], a party was established whose main objective was to maintain Marathi identity as paramount. From the Marathi identity, the party gradually sought to drive the communists out of Maharashtra and by the end of the eighties, the main objective of the party was to revive the ideology of Hindutva all over India. The name of this party was Shiv Sena and its founder was cartoonist cum nationalist journalist Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray.
Whether it was to support LK Advani’s Rath Yatra, or to send his cadres for the Ayodhya campaign, or to express his opinion on the issue of Kashmir without any hesitation, the Shiv Sena led by Balasaheb Thackeray portrayed the image of staunch Hindutva. But today when Balasaheb is not with us anymore, the main goal of Shiv Sena is to somehow come to power rather than espouse the ideology of Hindutva.
Today Shiv Sena is looking to form a government in Maharashtra by tying up with the same Congress and NCP of whom they once declared to throw them out of Maharashtra forever.
But this is not the first time that the Shiv Sena has entered into an alliance with the Congress. Bal Thackeray had formed an alliance with Congress O (Congress’s anti-Indira Gandhi faction, which had separated from Congress in 1969) in 1971. Thackeray fielded 3 candidates in the Lok Sabha elections on Shiv Sena ticket, none of whom managed to win. When communists dominated Mumbai in the 1960s, it is said that Vasant Rao Naik allegedly supported Balasaheb Thackeray and his Shiv Sena to deal with their menace.
Also, when Indira Gandhi declared Emergency in 1975, Bal Thackeray justified it and supported Congress in 1977 elections. But the support of Congress proved costly for Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena lost in the 1978 assembly elections and the BMC elections. Shiv Sena received such a huge shock that Balasaheb even offered his resignation at a rally at Shivaji Park. However, he withdrew his resignation after opposition from Shiv Sainiks.
Not only this, Shiv Sena was also called Vasant Sena at that time by their opponents. Despite the protests, in 1980, Shiv Sena supported the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. Balasaheb did not field Shiv Sena candidates against the Congress. The major reason behind this may have been Balasaheb’s personal relationship with the then Chief Minister AR Antulay. Not only this, the Shiv Sena of Balasaheb supported two Congress candidates, Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee, for the presidential election.
After this, in 1980 also Shiv Sena supported the Congress in Maharashtra assembly elections. It is said that Bal Thackeray also had cordial relations with senior Congress leaders like Shankar Rao Chavan, Vasant Rao Nayak and AR Antulay. In such a situation, one should not be surprised if the Shiv Sena allies with the Congress again.
But even after the betrayal meted out by Congress so many times, the Shiv Sena’s running after the Congress and the NCP is completely beyond comprehension. Articles against the two parties were once printed on the front page in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. In early 2014 the front page of an edition read, ‘Overthrow the anti-national Congress’. Was that fierce approach against the Congress, the statements of Shiv Sena leaders against NCP all a hoax?
Shiv Sena is arguing that since the BJP denied the 50 formula given by them, they broke this alliance. While the truth is that the people of Maharashtra gave their mandate for the alliance of Mahayuti i.e. Shiv Sena and BJP, but impatient in the greed for power, now Shiv Sena wants everything only for themselves.
Once Balasaheb Thackeray would have been willing to relinquish the post of Shiv Sena chief in the national interest. Today people like Uddhav Thackeray for power are also ready to ally with their ideological opponents, alienated from their own ideology. Today, we are all deeply saddened by Shiv Sena’s untimely demise, and hope that the souls of Shiv Sena and Balasaheb Thackeray may rest in peace.