Politics is a game of shrewd playmaking and none does it better than former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The senior BJP leader on Sunday (July 4), while interacting with media said there is ‘no enmity’ between Shiv Sena and BJP. Fadnavis’ remarks come amidst a slew of mushy-mushy statements released by the usual motor mouth Sanjay Raut and reports of some backroom meeting between senior functionaries of the two parties.
“There was no enmity between BJP and Shiv Sena. We are not enemies. We are facing ideological differences because our friend who got elected along with us left us and held the hands of those against whom they were elected,” remarked Fadnavis.
When asked if both the parties will again join hands, Fadnavis added, “There is nothing like a hypothesis in politics. Decisions are made depending upon the current situation. The leaders who depend upon hypothesis can only dream,”
While at first glance it might appear that the estranged coalition partners after their rebound are planning to get back together — the reality, on the contrary, might not be as simple as it is being let on. Firstly, one should understand the reason why a reconciliation is being insinuated in hushed tones across party lines.
BJP and its bedrock is formed by RSS and more so in Maharashtra with the headquarters in Nagpur. The relations between several BJP leaders and Shiv Sena workers are still tight despite the animosity after the bitter break-up.
Reported by TFI, Sanjay Raut, the senior leader and spokesperson of Shiv Sena recently met Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar and had coffee with him and the media instantly had a field day guessing the topic of the meeting. Although Raut declined that there were any political motives behind the meeting.
“We may have political and ideological differences, but if we come face-to-face at public functions, we will cordially greet each other. I have had coffee with Shelar openly,” said Raut.
Raut, who has been inexplicably staunch in his criticism of BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appears to have toned down his rhetoric. The Maha Vikas Aghadi claims to be a close-knit coalition and yet the three-party group is yet to fight an election as one.
With elections for the richest municipal body in the country Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections scheduled to be held early next year and most of Shiv Sena seats overlapping with NCP, the former is looking for a way out and wrestle the control back. In simple terms, it can be argued that Shiv Sena is desperate for a tie-up with BJP.
Moreover, Shiv Sena tried exceedingly hard during the two waves of the coronavirus pandemic to hurt the brand Modi and in turn BJP. However, with a botched up state response to China made virus, Shiv Sena was pushed on the backfoot and only having BJP in its corner can help Uddhav salvage himself from the wrath of the voters.
Uddhav understands that he cannot outwit the old vanguard Sharad Pawar whilst being in a coalition and thus he has started his flirtations with the BJP. However, Devendra Fadnavis, the experienced campaigner knows the inherent tendencies of Shiv Sena to backstab.
While being in power together, Shiv Sena and especially Uddhav Thackeray constantly undermined Fadnavis. Nonetheless, Fadnavis, showing the highest of regards for the coalition never veered off the path of modesty and kept working congruently with all the stakeholders.
Perhaps, the final nail in the coffin was the assembly election results and how Shiv Sena keeping its Hindutva ideology and Bala Saheb Thackeray’s vision on the bay held hands with a corrupt NCP and a decimated Congress to steer power away from the BJP. A second shot at the CM chair which was there for the taking for Fadnavis was seemingly snatched away from him.
Thus, until Fadnavis is leading the charge in the BJP state unit, the chances of an alliance are infinitesimal. The senior BJP leader is merely leading on the Shiv Sena, whilst strengthening his cadre on the ground to come back resolutely and put an end, once and for all to Shiv Sena’s muddled political gameplay.