Shiv Sena's street politics and BJP's tenacity
If the NDA alliance politics stand at a crossroads today in Maharashtra, it is just an indicator of the times to come
If the NDA alliance politics stand at a crossroads today in Maharashtra, it is just an indicator of the times to come. The ruling BJP bagged only 105 seats and claims to have the support of at least 15 independent MLAs.
It is 'blow-hot, blow-cold' ally, Shiv Sena, is reduced to a miserable 56 seats. The NCP has 54 and the Congress, the pan-Indian party is down to a fourth position with 44 seats. The BJP and the Sena are strange bedfellows in fact.
The latter takes great pleasure in lashing out at the BJP every other day. The ongoing war of words is just a continuation of this policy of 'carping for gains', of Shiv Sena.
So what happens if the Shiv Sena does not secure its 50-50 demand? It has several options ahead of it. It can ditch the BJP and seek to join hands with the NCP and the Congress for the sake of power.
Sharad Pawar and the Congress leadership would only be too willing to concede its demand and the 'tamasha' of the three-party government could go on for some time.
Shiv Sena should not have any problem in joining hands with any of these parties as its base - Maratha and Kunbi people - were after all part of the Congress base. The NCP leadership too is a chip of the old block. So why does not it simply do it?
For a party that once dumped its original slogan of 'sons of the soil' realising its redundant nature within five years of party formation, in favour of a broader 'Hindutva nationalism' plank, it should not be a worrisome factor to say goodbye to the BJP. But, the Sena is known for its demanding nature.
Shiv Sena must make it clear to the people of Maharashtra whether it is now working only to make Aditya Thackeray the Chief Minister. If that is the only goal, well, it should join hands with the Congress and the NCP.
Or it could also force a President's Rule in the State if it feels the BJP should be taught a firm lesson for not yielding to its demands. Can it afford to do so? The BJP knows that if the Sena does it - joining hands with the NCP and the Congress - it would be at its own peril.
No doubt, the Sena has its base quite strong in certain areas, but it also draws a formidable strength being in the company of the BJP. Hence, the stalemate. Both are blackmailing each other at the cost of governance.
The BJP is looking at chinks in Sena's armour and is testing its patience. Similarly, the other way. Sena presumes it can bend the BJP through its street-politics and by spreading unrest in case the BJP opts for a breakup.
Neither Narendra Modi nor Amit Shah is in a hurry to have their government in place under uncertainty. Ignoring governance and people's problems is the new norm nowadays in the country.