The Economic Times | 3 days ago | 23-06-2022 | 11:36 pm
(This story originally appeared in on Jun 23, 2022)For the Shiv Sena, the Eknath Shinde-led rebellion is not just a battle to save the Maha Vikas Aghadi government but also a desperate attempt to save the party from the BJP’s growing influence in Maharashtra.The BJP has already surged way ahead of the Shiv Sena in the last two assembly elections - both in terms of the number of seats and also vote share.From 1990 to 2004, the Shiv Sena was ahead of the BJP in the assembly elections. However, the trend reversed in 2009, when for the first time the BJP won two seats more than the Shiv Sena.This small margin of difference in the number of seats increased to a huge gap in 2014 when the BJP won 122 seats, nearly double of the Shiv Sena’s 63.In 2019, the gap in the number of seats between the two parties narrowed a bit. However, the BJP with 105 seats was still way ahead of the regional party that managed to win only 55. Not just the seats, the Shiv Sena also fell far behind the BJP in terms of the vote share.BJP’s vote share in the assembly elections increased from 10.71% in 1990 to 25.75% in 2019. During the same period, the Shiv Sena’s vote share increased marginally from 15.94% to 16.41%.Even at its best, the regional party could not cross the 20% mark and registered its maximum in 2004 when it got 19.97% of votes.In the 2014 assembly elections, the BJP registered an increase of nearly 13.5% of votes compared to the 2009 assembly elections and surged ahead of the Shiv Sena. The regional party, however, could only increase its vote share by around 3% from the previous assembly elections. In the Lok Sabha elections also, the BJP has surged ahead of the Shiv Sena in terms of seat share. In the last two elections, the BJP has won 23 seats compared to Shiv Sena’s 18.From 1991 to 2009, the two parties shared the honours with the BJP ahead in three elections and the Shiv Sena in three. As these numbers show, the BJP has slowly but surely increased its political influence in the state. This definitely is a matter of concern for the Shiv Sena, which has been struggling to prevent the decline in its political fortunes.With Hindutva ideology at its core, the Shiv Sena shares an overlapping political space with the BJP. That explains why it faces greater challenges from the BJP than its current allies - the NCP and the Congress.There was a time when Balasaheb Thackeray-led Shiv Sena was considered the most vocal Hindutva force in India. However, that has now changed. The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is today a very strong political force fighting for the Hindutva agenda.Uddhav also realises that his party's association with the BJP is no more symbiotic. The saffron party has made huge gains over the years becoming a threat not just for the NCP and the Congress but also for the Shiv Sena.Perhaps, it was this realisation that forced Uddhav Thackeray to go for an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in 2019 to keep the BJP out of power.However, as things have turned out, the BJP now has a real chance to avenge Sena’s betrayal of 2019 and not just form its government but also ensure that Uddhav loses control over his party.Senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde has rebelled with majority of the party MLAs. Reports suggest that he has the support of nearly 40 out of the 55 Sena MLAs. The rebels want Uddhav to quit the "unnatural" alliance with the NCP and the Congress and return to the BJP fold.The rebels fear that their brand of Hindutva will not survive in the face of the aggressive Hindutva of the BJP.Uddhav knows the electoral implications of the current political crisis and hence is going all out to woo back the dissidents.
APART FROM its impact on various governance-related issues, the rebellion in the Shiv Sena that could lead to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state will also have a bearing on the impending choice of the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The term of the incumbent Commissioner Sanjay Pandey ends on Thursday and the chances of an extension to him, which has to be given by the central government, are slim in the current circumstances.Sources said that the government, which currently has its hands tied up with the prevailing political situation, may end up giving the additional charge for the post to a serving official if it cannot make up its mind about Pandey’s replacement. A government official said, “While there are frontrunners to the post, the change in the political situation has made the issue all the more complex. Powerful politicians like Eknath Shinde who would have had a say in pushing someone’s name forward will no longer be in contention.” The official added, “In the current climate, where law and order can be an issue especially when the rebel MLAs come to the city in case of a floor test, the MVA government will be all the more careful about whom it wants to give the reins of the police force. In the changed dynamics, they may also go in for giving another officer the additional charge in the meantime.” Sources said that in the past, when the Commissioner had been away, additional charge was given to the senior-most joint commissioner in the city. In the current scenario, Vishwas Nangre Patil, the Joint Commissioner (law & order), and Rajwardhan, Joint Commissioner (traffic), both from the 1997 batch, are the senior-most officers in the city.Prior to the rebellion, Thane Police Commissioner Jai Jeet Singh and Vivek Phansalkar, Director General-Police Housing, were seen as frontrunners for the post of the Mumbai Police Commissioner. Sources said that if the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government remains in power, it is Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar who will weigh in on the choice of the Mumbai Police Commissioner.
A number of MLAs who flew to Guwahati to join the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena had to pack their bags in great hurry. They were all taken to Surat via Palghar and then flown to Assam capital. In the rush, many of them forgot to carry along necessities such as night clothes, shaving kits and cellphone chargers. Sources in Shinde camp said that the local BJP unit in Guwahati was sent to the market to buy these items, including undergarments, for the MLAs.Naming ideasWith the Shiv Sena alleging that agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were being used to break the MVA government apart, and that rebel leader Eknath Shinde and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis are likely to head a BJP government next, a leader of the Sena has started referring to it as “ED government” with E standing for Eknath and D for Devendra.Staying in touchA number of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs have created their own WhatsApp groups of supporters and workers in their constituencies as a way to communicate with their support base. Post the rebellion when many MLAs went incommunicado after shifting to Guwahati, these WhatsApp groups have become their sounding boards with these leaders receiving brickbats as well as bouquet emojis for their act.‘What a hotel!’Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Shahji Bapu Patil’s gushing description of the surroundings of the place in which he is presently putting up in Guwahati has led to a virtual meme fest on social media. In an audio clip of Patil’s conversation with one of his supporters after the rebellion, the leader is heard exclaiming “Kay Jhadi, Kay Dongar, Kay Hotel” (What trees, what mountains, what a hotel!). The utterances by the first-time MLA from Sangola has led to a number of memes, and a swipe from the Shiv Sena which remarked that Patil can see beautiful trees, mountains and hotels in Maharashtra as well.(Contributed by: Yogesh Naik and Zeeshan Shaikh)
Mumbai: Maharashtra’s political crisis has further deepened as the rebel MLA Eknath Shinde’s camp on Sunday went to the Supreme Court, filing an appeal against the Shiv Sena’s move to disqualify him and 15 other MLAs. The top court is likely to hear the matter on Monday. Apart from this, the Shinde camp has also challenged the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as the Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader and the rejection of the no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal.Also Read - Radisson Blu Guwahati, Rebel Maharashtra MLAs' New Camp, Closes Fresh Bookings Till June 30. Deets InsideMeanwhile, Eknath Shinde tweeted, “How can Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena support people who had a direct connection with the culprits of the Mumbai bomb blast, Dawood Ibrahim, and those responsible for taking the lives of innocent people of Mumbai? That’s why we took such a step, it’s better to die.” Also Read - Maharashtra Crisis: Shinde Camp Moves SC Against Disqualification Notice, Matter Likely to be Heard Today | Key PointsOne to two more MLAs will come and join us. With their support and other independents, our strength will be increased to 51. We will arrive at a decision in 3-4 days and thereafter we will directly go back to Maharashtra, said Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar. Also Read - Say Trek? Not Mountains But Forts! Hike To History This Monsoon And Triumph These Thrilling Fort Treks In MaharashtraMaharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari writes to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla regarding the security of MLAs (of Shinde Camp) and requested that adequate provision of Central Security forces be made and kept ready, in case required, to address the situation.Aaditya Thackeray said, “On May 20, CM Uddhav Thackeray called Eknath Shinde and asked him to become CM if he wanted to become so, but at that time, he did drama and started weeping. Just a month after, he broke into rebellion. But they (Shinde faction) aren’t capable of doing so, so this isn’t rebellion, this is separatism. They took undue advantage of CM Uddhav Thackeray’s ill-health to do all of this.”Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “40 MLAs in Guwahati are living corpses, their souls are dead. Their bodies will be sent directly to the Assembly for post-mortem when they come back. They know what can happen in the fire that has been lit here.”Maharashtra Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant reached Guwahati in Assam and joined Eknath Shinde camp.NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, “Eknath Shinde and other MLAs were there with the NCP in the govt. They didn’t have any problems in the last 2.5 years. Why does it happen today only? It’s just an excuse. We will support CM Uddhav Thackeray till the last minute. Eknath Shinde and other MLAs who’ve gone with him to Guwahati have said to form a new alliance, but NCP and Congress policy is clear to support the coalition govt that we had formed. MVA govt is there (in Maharashtra) and we want to continue supporting it.”
India's apex court is now involved in the unfolding political crisis in Maharashtra, after the state's rebel MLAs - led by Eknath Shinde - filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging their disqualification from the Shiv Sena. Earlier this week, the Shiv Sena launched a bid to disqualify 16 rebel MLAs, lodging a plea with the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. In addition, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has also appointed Ajay Choudhari as the Legislature Party leader.The Shinde camp has raised objections to both moves, now involving the apex court, further blowing up the crisis. These pleas are set to be heard on June 27, having been listed for an unrgent hearing.
Sharad Pawar said the new alliance by the rebel MLAs hardly held any importance. (FILE)New Delhi: As uncertainty looms over the future of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government following the rebellion of a majority of Shiv Sena MLAs, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday said that his party will support Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray till the last minute."Eknath Shinde and other MLAs were there with the NCP in the government. They didn't have any problems in the last 2.5 years. Why does it happen today only? It's just an excuse. We will support CM Uddhav Thackeray till the last minute," said Mr Pawar.As the power tussle in the western state continued on Sunday, Sharad Pawar also said that the new alliance by the rebel MLAs hardly held any importance."Eknath Shinde and other MLAs who've gone with him (to Guwahati) have said to form a new alliance but NCP and Congress policy are clear to support the coalition government that we had formed. MVA government is there (in Maharashtra) and we want to continue supporting it," he added.The political turbulence in Maharashtra was triggered by the faction war in Shiv Sena after Minister Eknath Shinde flew to Surat with some MLAs and then to Guwahati where he claims of having the support of 38 MLAs of the party, thus achieving the two-thirds majority in the Shiv Sena.Interestingly, the Shinde faction named their group 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'.The naming of the group after the name of the Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray attracted sharp reactions from the Uddhav faction as the Chief Minister said that those who left the party should not seek votes in the name of the party founder.Eknath Shinde claims to have the support of 38 MLAs of the 56 Shiv Sena legislators, which is more than two-thirds of the party's strength in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. It means that they can either leave and form another political party or merge with another without being disqualified from the state assembly.Meanwhile, rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar claimed that their faction has a two-thirds majority while denying merger talks with any party.Notably, Eknath Shinde was unanimously elected as the leader of the faction recently which is revolting against the Uddhav faction.The Uddhav Thackeray faction recently submitted a plea before the Maharashtra Assembly deputy speaker to disqualify 12 rebel MLAs.Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Sunday informed that the party has initiated legal action against rebel MLAs and notices have been served as well.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)