Out of NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena, the biggest setback goes to Shiv Sena. It is the biggest loser in spite of registering growth, in seats and in vote share.

Many in the party would be rightly thinking, that just for 5 seats, they lost the ‘senior ally’ in Maharashtra tag, and that too, by a huge margin. Yes, they are the second largest party in Maharashtra assembly but their 63 seats are nowhere near to BJP’s 122 seats, given the fact that BJP had been the junior partner of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and was ready to do so even this time, agreeing to contest on lesser number of seats than Shiv Sena in the failed seat-sharing talks.

And BJP had reasons and rights to ask for so, because it was not too outrageous a demand. It had performed exceedingly well in the Lok Sabha elections cornering maximum number of Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra that sends 48 members to the parliament.

In 2014 LS polls, BJP had won 23 seats with 27% vote share while Shiv Sena had 18 seats with 21% vote share. It was a considerable improvement for both. BJP had taken up its tally from 9 LS seats and 19% vote share in 2009 to 23 seats in 2014. Shiv Sena also did very well taking up its tally from 10 seats to 18 seats with 17% vote share in 2009.

But Shiv Sena’s performance was not at par with its junior ally of the past, when seen in comparison with BJP’s rising graph in the state, when it had to be surpassing what BJP achieved. Even in 2009 assembly polls, the junior partner of the alliance had won two seats more (46) than Shiv Sena’s 44 seats. And when it simply outperformed everyone in the Lok Sabha polls registering 8% increase in vote share and over 150% increase in seats, it was right to expect for more.

BJP had a symbolic edge over Shiv Sena with 2009 assembly election results but the 2014 LS polls outcome placed it much ahead of all others, including Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena had to realize it and should have appreciated when BJP didn’t ask for sky-high price for its electoral edge.

But, their ego had to blind them all. Alleging BJP of the ‘big brother’ attitude, they tried to act ‘bigger brother’ and the talks collapsed.

This was when BJP had Narendra Modi and the Modi Factor advantage as well, that drove home a clear majority to a non-Congress party for the first time in electoral history. Probably, Shiv Sena strategists had become so convinced of the hypothesis that Modi Wave had receded based on the bye-election outcomes, that saw that all the ‘green’ was going to adore them only. But Maharashtra and Haryana (in Haryana, BJP got clear majority and is going to form the government there, from 4 seats in 2009 to clear majority in 2014) tell Modi Wave is still very much here.

It was for Modi Wave only, that BJP, despite not having as strong an organizational structure in whole Maharashtra as Shiv Sena had, could outperform so brilliantly its ‘senior partner’ from the recent past.

So brilliantly, that Shiv Sena is now slated to become BJP’s junior partner in Maharashtra.

So brilliantly, that BJP is now dictating the terms, even if it is 23 seats short of the majority mark. The NCP offer of unconditional outside support has taken whatever sheen Shiv Sena was left with in a post-election scenario of hung assembly.

BJP won more than what Shiv Sena was offering, 119 seats. Had it been in the alliance, even if with 5 more seats, BJP would not have been able to win so many seats. What BJP was demanding was modest. What Shiv Sena’s arrogance gave it was grand. And what Shiv Sena lost was grander, costing it the ‘senior alliance partner’ position, and the leverage in the national politics.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


As the two main political alliances forming the broad spectrum of the state politics in Maharashtra got over, with NCP quitting the senior partner Congress and BJP walking out of the Combine with Shiv Sena, the rush was to forge new alliances, to retain smaller allies, to find new allies.

Congress immediately announced Samajwadi Party coming on board with it, but a day later we came to know it was a premature announcement.

The BJP-Shiv Sena split saw increased bonhomie between Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray but there is no definitive word on the political rivals from the Thackeray family coming together.

BJP retained three of the four smaller parties of the Mahayuti, the grand alliance that contested the Lok Sabha elections, Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Paksh, Mahadev Jankar’s Rashtriya Samaj Party and Vinayak Mete’s Shiv Sangram. These small parties carry significant electoral weight in different regional pockets of Maharashtra.

But the RPI(A)’s stand was not clear. Both, Shiv Sena and BJP, were trying to woo Ramdas Athavale given the significant chunk of Dalit votes in the state.

Dalits are around 12% of the population of the state and have been a traditional vote bank of Congress-NCP.

An alliance with RPI(A), a previous Congress-NCP ally, fragmented the Dalit votes in Western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Mumbai, regions where Dalits are a major electoral force.

The Dalit vote fragmentation led the BJP-Shiv Sena Combine win many seats that it had lost in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

And so there was a rush to win over RPI(A) and the BJP finally won it.

True, there are other Dalit political outfits in Maharashtra including three other factions of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s RPI (led by Dr. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar), but RPI(A) is the largest one of this divided mess.

And it will certainly help the BJP in diverting more votes away from Congress and NCP, given the fact that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) got 4% of the Dalit votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –