BY: AATHIRA VASUDEVAN
In the Shiv Sena’s heartland Dadar-Parel, the mood on the ground is clear: If the average Shiv Sainik was angry at the BJP in the run-up to the Assembly elections, he is now weary of the party bosses’ wavering. The general opinion of Sena supporters in Mumbai is that the party should now stand its ground and only join the alliance if the BJP accords its former ally of 25 years some respect.
Anil Sinkar, a Dadar resident, said “The Shiv Sena should not compromise at this point. We want to see the party in power, of course, but all the major portfolios have been occupied by the BJP and therefore it is best for the people of Maharashtra that the Sena remains in the Opposition to keep a check on the government.”
From those hanging around Sena shakhas in the region to senior citizens relaxing at Shivaji Park, the talking point on Monday evening was about the latest political developments. Hours after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke out appearing to still keep the door open for discussions with the BJP, the vote on the ground was for the Sena to protect its pride, and that of the average Sainik.
Around Shivaji Park, along the bylanes of Lalbaug and Parel and in chawls around the former mill lands, the other widely held opinion is in fact about the NCP: A large section of Sainiks also believes that the BJP appearing to accept the NCP’s support is a sellout on their ideological stand.
S P Mandavkar, another resident of Dadar, said, “The BJP should understand that taking the support of the NCP is not practical, considering their conflicting ideologies. They (BJP) should therefore take the support of only the Sena instead.”
Several people also pointed out that the BJP and the Sena are natural allies, ideologically and based on their 25-year partnership.
A minority of the residents in fact said a BJP-Shiv Sena alliance would be ideal and hence the two parties should settle their differences. U Ramakant said, “The two parties had been allies for years. I believe the parties will form an alliance once again”. Many residents of the area, however, would like to see the Shiv Sena in power.
V K Rao, a Sena supporter, said, “We would like to see the Shiv Sena in power. It is a party that has always supported the rights of the working class over the capitalists. But it will be extremely difficult to be in an alliance with a party like NCP which does not believe in Hindutva. Hence the BJP should not be take their support. Shiv Sena is right in this matter.”