The Shiv Sena has taken yet another swipe at the BJP, this time over its stand on Maratha reservation. It said while the ruling party was ready to spend Rs 40,000 crore on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of bullet train, it was not taking any concrete decision on the quota issue and only giving assurances to the Maratha community. “After a road show done by the Japanese Prime Minister we had the foundation stone of the Ahmedabad Mumbai bullet train being laid. However inspite of numerous and massive road shows undertaken by this state’s Marathas all that they have received is a tattered cloak in form of a sub committee,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana.
Soon after the Maratha community had taken out a morcha in Mumbai on August 9, seeking reservation, the government announced that it would form a cabinet sub-committee, which would review the implementation of various schemes for the community. The committee is headed by Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil.
“For the PM’s dream project of a bullet train the Maharashtra chief minister is willing to spend Rs 40,000 crore. However, on the issue of Maratha reservation, by setting up a sub-committee, he has used the Congress party’s tried method of prolonging taking a decision,” said the editorial. It asked if there was any deadline for the committee and what were its powers. The party said: “It is being said that this committee will submit its report to the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission. Also, it will hold discussions with Maratha organisations every three months. If talks will happen in three months, how long will this committee’s time pass last?”
Over the past few months, the Sena has been unrelenting in its criticism of ruling ally BJP. For a party that sees itself as a dominant regional force, the Shiv Sena has had to face the hard political reality over the past two years that it may be forced to play a second fiddle to the BJP in the coming years.
Maharashtra’s multi-cornered elections that saw the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP jostling for space have over the past two years turned into a two-horse race with the BJP and the Sena being the two dominant players. However, the distance between the two parties in terms of political as well as electoral clout is stark.
There are 27 municipal corporations in Maharashtra of which 18 went to polls after the Narendra Modi-led BJP attained power both in the Centre and in Maharashtra. Post 2014, of the 2,050 seats in these 18 corporations, the BJP won a massive 653 seats. The Sena stands at a distant second at 369 seats. The domination of the BJP has been so strong that it controls a dozen of these 18 corporations. Once a junior ally of the Sena, the BJP has left its former mate far behind.