While Shiv Sena motormouth Sanjay Raut likes to live in an alternate reality where the Maha Vikas Aghadi will rule Maharashtra for the next 25 years, any political commentator worth his salt would argue that the alliance won’t be able to sustain post the Brihanmumbai Civic elections. Such are the dynamics of the three party alliance that fighting the BMC elections together was a pipe dream. It seems that the Indian National Congress has played spoilsport over Shiv Sena’s lofty ambitions as the party has decided to contest the BMC elections alone which may well lead to Shiv Sena being relegated to dustbins of history.
In what can be read as the first signs of the impending end of the three-party alliance, Shiv Sena’s ally in the Maharashtra government, the Indian National Congress has decided to go alone in the crucial BMC polls.
Congress leader Ravi Raja announced the party’s decision to go solo as he stated that there is no need for a tie-up with the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena.
For the uninitiated, the BMC is country’s richest civic body and is slated to go to polls early next year. The Shiv Sena enjoys complete dominance over it and has been ruling the civic body uninterrupted since the past 30 years with the BJP as its junior partner for most of the period.
However, Sena’s lust for the Chief Minister’s chair has changed the equations. Such is the inflated ego of the Sena who believes that Mumbai is their heirloom, the BJP-Sena in 2017 who at that time were in an alliance in the then Fadnavis government, didn’t fight the BMC elections together as Sena only agreed to give a handful of seats to the BJP to ensure that the latter remains as a junior partner in BMC, having lost that status in the Maharashtra government.
The Sena was expecting to romp home in the 227-member civic body but was served a rude shock as the BJP secured a whopping 82 seats with the Sena securing 86 seats. This was a watershed moment in Mumbai politics as the BJP had came close to loosen the Sena’s iron grip on the city. The two warring parties then came together to come to power in the BMC thereby playing spoilsport over Sena’s dreams of ruling the BMC without the BJP’s support.
Read More: There is a reason why Media and Opposition are discussing only BMC and not rest of Maharashtra
Being at the helm of the country’s richest civic body has its own perks and that’s what kept the Sena afloat during the 15 year rule of Congress-NCP in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra BJP under the tutelage of Devendra Fadnavis was often labelled as an election winning machine as it made inroads even in rural Maharashtra where the party earlier had no presence. As soon as the Sena betrayed the BJP, the latter had announced that it will be going alone in the BMC polls.
A wounded BJP is already baying for Sena’s blood which will also be facing the voters for the first time after forming an alliance with ideologically opposite INC and NCP.
While the NCP and INC continue to remain small players in the BMC as the duo secured 9 and 30 seats respectively in the last elections, their ambitions have only grown after they were collectively able to betray the mandate given by the people of Maharashtra.
At the onset of 2020, the NCP which has hardly any support base in Mumbai, filled the city with huge hoardings of Sharad Pawar clearly stating the party’s intentions for the BMC polls.
The decision of the INC to fight the polls alone can be read in two ways: the Sena unsurprisingly won’t be ready to part with more than a handful of seats as under no circumstances would it want to reduce its dominance in the civic body. The other reason being the party has read the mood on the ground and knows that allying with the Sena will be a huge shot in the foot.
The Sena was perhaps hoping that any voter base that it risks to lose permanently after allying with the NCP and INC, will be offset by gaining the minority vote by fighting in an alliance. Now with that out of the questions, the Sena will be facing the daunting task of facing the rapidly rising BJP all alone and rest assured the latter would leave no stone unturned to dethrone Sena from the BMC.
If that happens, it will represent the Sena’s worst nightmare, losing power in the BMC and facing a bickering allies who fought against the party which will eventually lead to the downfall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, there’s a real possibility that the Sena will be left with absolutely nothing except the achievement of making a Thackeray the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for a short period of time.