Time for BJP to realise that Shiv Sena is not an ally

We have a situation where a regional party is pummeling its bigger, national partner even as the latter remains in a placatory mode.

Time for BJP to realise that Shiv Sena is not an ally
Time for BJP to realise that Shiv Sena is not an ally

Shiv Sena is not prepared to reconsider its attitude, became clear during the anti-trust motion that opposition parties brought against the Modi regime a few days ago in the Lok Sabha.

It’s about time the Bharatiya Janata Party shed its ambivalence on continuing with its alliance with the Shiv Sena. This should have happened earlier, but after Sena’s refusal to vote in favour of the Modi Government during the anti-trust motion, there remains no justification for the BJP to maintain vagueness. The party risks a dent in its image if it continues to be soft on its so-called ally.

The NCP had then offered outside support to the BJP if the latter wished to form a Government without aligning with the Shiv Sena

There are unconfirmed reports in a section of the media that the BJP has finally decided to dump the Sena, and that the Nationalist Congress Party has decided to back the Sena in Maharashtra. It this indeed materialises, then the BJP will be rid of the shackles in the State. The question is: What happens to the tie-up that the NCP and the Congress are preparing for? Surely the Congress cannot be in a grouping which has the Shiv Sena. Or, will the Sena-NCP alliance be limited to Maharashtra even as the NCP aligns with the Congress at the national level?

For the BJP, the writing has been on the wall for some time now. The Shiv Sena had categorically announced weeks ago that it would not be aligned with the BJP-led NDA in the coming Lok Sabha election. And yet we have had senior central BJP leaders refusing to accept the reality. This despite the fact that a majority of party leaders and workers in Maharashtra are confident of doing well after a break with the Sena. It is also despite the other fact that even before the Sena announced the parting of ways at the later date, its leaders had been constantly issuing statements that belittled not just the BJP but also its senior leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Thus, we have a situation where a regional party is pummelling its bigger, national partner even as the latter remains in a placatory mode. The tolerance demonstrated by the BJP has been inexplicable. The BJP is the larger party not just nationally but also in Maharashtra. It won more seats than the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha and the State Assembly. It may be recalled that following a hung Assembly after the last poll, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party, having contested against the Sena, besides the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The NCP had then offered outside support to the BJP if the latter wished to form a Government without aligning with the Shiv Sena. Had the BJP accepted that offer, it would have killed two birds with one stone: Weaned away the NCP from the Congress camp and sidelined the Sena in the State.

The Shiv Sena remains in the NDA, both at the Centre and in the State. Neither is it pulling out nor is the BJP ready to pull the plug

But the BJP did not take the NCP’s offer for two reasons. The first was that it felt ideologically more comfortable with the Shiv Sena which had been its oldest ally. The second was the negative image the NCP then had in the wake of corruption charges some of its senior leaders faced. Besides, realising that it was confronted with the possibility of being left out, the Shiv Sena too had begun to send out feelers to the BJP. When the pact eventually happened, it was believed that the past had been buried.

It was a misreading of the situation. The Sena never reconciled to the fact that for the first time in its decades-old association with the BJP, the national party was the dominant entity in the State. It decided to go belligerent to counter that impression. Thus, whether in the State Government where it is a junior partner in the Government or at the Centre where it got only nominal representation, the Shiv Sena continued to snipe at the BJP. From the BJP’s perspective, the Sena crossed limits when it began to target the Prime Minister himself — taking potshots at his Pakistan policy, his economic policy, his visits abroad to boost India’s image globally etc. It is pertinent to note here that Sena’s problem with Narendra Modi came to be expressed even before he became the Prime Minister; when Modi was declared the BJP’s prime ministerial face in the run-up to the 2014 election, the Sena had let it be known that its founder-leader Balasaheb Thackeray would have preferred Sushma Swaraj.

That the Sena is not prepared to reconsider its attitude, became clear during the anti-trust motion that opposition parties brought against the Modi regime a few days ago in the Lok Sabha. BJP president Amit Shah spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and sought the latter’s support. Despite this outreach, the Shiv Sena refused to back the Government, preferring to keep away from voting altogether. It should shatter the BJP’s hopes of a rapprochement. The sooner the BJP realises the futility of appeasing the Shiv Sena, the better it will be for the morale of its cadre in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, the old farce continues to be played out. The Shiv Sena remains in the NDA, both at the Centre and in the State. Neither is it pulling out nor is the BJP ready to pull the plug. In Jammu & Kashmir, the BJP, even if reluctantly, snapped ties with the PDP on a number of issues. If it were to summon the similar courage and decide to end relations with the Shiv Sena on its own terms rather than have the alliance normally collapse on a date and time that the Sena decides, it could at least emerge on a high note. But then, there are those believe that the relationship can still be salvaged. The past experience does not offer solace, though.

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Rajesh Singh is a Delhi-based senior political commentator and public affairs analyst
Rajesh Singh


  1. Its comic seeing only outsiders, especially Southie TaBras who are pariahs in own state, connenting on Maharastra politics. One shouldnt comnent without first understanding the Mahratta pysche. BJP is a one show, NaMo, North Indian party. It is managed by banias who value power over principles. The 5 years of Sena rule were good years and a precursor to many of BJPs projects like infrastructure. Certainly after Balasaheb, there has been a massive leadership void in Sena. But the Mahratta spirit will soon rekindle either through the Sena or similar.

    • PGurus is pan-World. The author is a respected journalist who was for several years, a Media Adviser to Shri Manohar Parrikar. He knows what he is writing about.

  2. The main anger of shiv Sena against BJP is that Mr.Phadnavis does not let them practice corruption. Most will remember the first Shiv Sena govt of Mr Manohar Joshi was a damn corrupt one!! Since their dreams are not fulfilled they are giving all sorts of trouble to the BJP govt. BJP should get rid of them fast!!

    • Not just Fadnavis has prevented Sena from looting the State Govt but Sena has been restrained from laying their hands on BMC coffers – which had a gold mine for the rascal Thackeray’s for several decades

      Shivsena’s condition today resembles a HUNGRY BEGGAR in front of CHOICEST CUISINES with both hands tied & mouth sealed

  3. The following facts should be considered before analyzing the political alliances in Maharashtra:

    In degree of EVILNESS, Sena is more than (Congress+ MVP) put together

    Modi’s DEMONETIZATION has totally wiped out the entire HARAM KA PAISA from Sena’ Treasury & made this Uddhav a political beggar

    Added to this, the strict ‘NAA KHAAOONGA’ ‘NA KHAANE DOONGA’ policy maintained by BJP has disabled / frustrated all Sena’s attempts of ‘making money’ from BMC’s coffers.

    Sena today, is virtually a PENNILESS BEGGAR with limited influence in the two Municipal Corporations of Thane & Mumbai

    Though BJP is the ‘biggest’ & the ‘most popular’ party today in Maharashtra & BJP’s influence growing at alarming rate in the State, still time is not ripe enough to comfortably sideline Sena in the State

    Another latent danger in sidelining Sena is the imminentv possibility of {Sena+MVP+Congress} allying together – which may prove fatal to BJP

    The author is incorrect in assuming that CONGRESS CAN’T BE IN A GROUPING WHERE SENA TOO EXISTS. Congress’s condition & morale are so low today that it will be ready to ally with even Dawood Ibrahim, if that can ensure a few more seats. THE RECENT UTTERANCES OF SENA PRAISING INDIRA GANDHI OVER MODI PORTENDS THE GRIM POSSIBILITY OF A POSSIBLE SECRET TALKS BETWEEN THE TWO

    Under the present circumstances, BJP is playing a perfect balancing act of NOT LETTING THE SENA OUT OF ITS HANDS whilev simultaneously PREVENTING AN ALLIANCE OF EVIL TRIO.

    This will continue till BJP gets a Shivraj Singh Chatham or Manohar Parrikkar in Maharashtra

    Fadnavis should pull up his socks & try to become one

  4. Shiv Sena is a dim wit party of street thugs working under aegis of Muslim mafia like Dawood Ibrahim. Shiv Sena is living on borrowed time, time has come to crush it once for all. After the win, BJP should jail & give a cane beating to every Shiv Sena activist who uses muscle power to straighten & exercise hegemony over the Mumbaikars. Time has come to show the burial ground to Udhav Thackeray. Mumbaikars should be very happy to push them into the deep sea.

  5. The Shiv Sena’s relevance is certainly past the sell by date. Bjp has missed on many opportunities in the state and tested the people’ patience beyond limits. Most times it was only because of the personal equations and dealing in crime together with sena and ncp that had cost the party from coming out clean and different in the interest of governance.
    Uddhav thackaray is in an imaginary world of sorts. With an agenda to promote a dimwit party going Pappu of his own as heir apparent and a foul mouthed brother in law Sanjay Raut helming the “saamna” party’ mouthpiece he will not need much help to go down the way raj thackarey went
    Fadnavis has failed to look at Bombay which though small in relative terms of Maharashtra that dominate politics – marathwada, Vidarbha etc is a opinion making place. The hopeless and corrupt administration of Maharashtra makes it the most corrupt place for decades. Look no further but the way BMC has been run or should I say not run. The country’ richest corporation struggles for attention and Fadnavis continues to fiddle. Blaming BMC performance on sena will get him no votes. The administration is corrupt and Fadnavis like the predecessors is throwing in his weight with the famed and dangerous builder lobby which has destroyed the city. The compromises with safety, basic infrastructure it makes while yielding the small green lungs to the powerful builder lobby makes it a shame for the best alternative (bjp under Modi) to go the same way as any other congress govt
    Ncp began the act of corrupting BMC and created the funny rules in the city that allows its real estate to be used for making money. Sharad pawar bedded with all the underworld gang through the 80s and from mid 90s, Shiv Sena bjp Combine at BMC completely destroyed administrative abilities and every institution under its wings. To blame sena alone is therefore bjp’ easy alibi
    Summary – it is the most corrupt state and the most lucrative ones. Every politician becomes the same here once in power. Bjp is guilty of not booking the scam ridden ncp through the five years. The famed irrigation scam with Ajith pawar went nowhere and the irony is that Fadnavis govt increased the budget several times over for the same besides saying there was no crime. Bjp can certainly dump sena and is not worth having them but needs To work honestly and deliver. Combining with ncp for power or somehow getting to power may be amit shah’ KPI. But governance is missing anways


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