They were fellows for decades. They had similar ideological planks of nationalism and Hindutva to unite them. But the growing bickering saw them breaking their 25-year old alliance in September 2014, a month before the Maharashtra assembly polls in October 2014. Elections made BJP the single largest party in Maharashtra and thus Shiv Sena’s senior partner, a first in state politics. Shiv Sena happened to be BJP’s big brother in state politics before it.
Though Shiv Sena came back to the alliance fold again, developments since then clearly tell us that it has always been an uneasy alliance with the party, its leaders and cadre taking on both, the Devendra Fadnavis government and the BJP led central government. Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana regularly comes up with editorials slamming the BJP. Threatening to break alliance even on slightest of pretext has become a routine. Both allies fought the recently held Mumbai civic polls (BMC) separately, where again, they were ruling partners for many years.
How strained the relation between the allies has become can be gauged from words of Manohar Joshi, former Maharashtra CM and veteran Shiv Sena leader. In an interview published today, Joshi said that Shiv Sena was no longer in an alliance with the BJP. Rather, it was just an adjustment. And if we scan through the developments of even just last two months, we can see the contradictions of BJP-Sena alliance getting deeper with Sena slamming the BJP on almost every other issue.
AMARNATH YATRA ATTACK
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray slammed the BJP led central government for terror attack on a bus of Amarnath Yarta pilgrims that left seven killled and in a satirical comment said that the so-called Gau Rakshaks (or cow vigilantes) should be sent there to fight terrorists.
AIR INDIA DISINVESTMENT
Drawing a Kashmir parallel, Shiv Sena criticised the decision saying tomorrow the government may proceed to sell Kashmir citing the huge security cost involved. Shiv Sena termed Air India, national carrier, India’s icon and pride.
FARMERS’ PROTESTS AND FARM LOAN WAIVER
Shiv Sena has supported farm protests demanding total farm loan waiver. When the Fadnavis government announced last month its farm loan waiver scheme, Shiv Sena took credit saying the pressure put by it worked but at the same time ratcheted up its attack demanding a total waiver.
The Rs. 34000 crore farm waiver announced by the Fadnavis government is aimed at the most needy small and marginal farmers with loan amount up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. The debt waiver covers 40 lakh farmers completely but other 49 lakh farmers who have higher debt have been left out of its ambit beyond the cap of Rs. 1.5 lakh.
But Uddhav Thackeray has been demanding a blanket farm loan waiver without any condition and has vowed to raise the issue till every farmer become debt free and as recently as July 10, Shiv Sena organized protests in Maharashtra districts to reiterate its demand for the blanket waiver.
Shiv Sena has blamed the Centre and the BJP-PDP alliance government in Jammu & Kashmir for letting the situation spiral out of control and has demanded imposition of President Rule. Blaming J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti for making reckless statements while the state is burning, Shiv Sena says it is sad the BJP still backs her.
DEVENDRA FANDAVIS’ ASSERTION ON MID-TERM POLLS
First it was Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. Then it was BJP President Amit Shah. Last month, they both issued a veiled warning to Shiv Sena saying that the BJP was prepared for mid-term polls if the same was ‘imposed upon them’.
Shiv Sena hit back saying BJP might care for mid-term polls, Shiv Sena’s priorities of the moment were issues like Kashmir and Darjeeling.