The political trajectory of the Shiv Sena in alliance with BJP in last 24 years shows poor growth, registering only 3.09 per cent increase in vote share and adding 21 seats, while BJP has made a quantum jump registering 16.37 per cent increase in its vote share and adding 80 seats in assembly elections held between 1990 and 2014.
The only exception where the Shiv Sena and BJP did not contest assembly elections together was 2014.
On Saturday, Sena and BJP negotiations for the pre-poll pact gained momentum with top leadership engaged in fine-tuning the formula and seat swapping.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterated that Shiv Sena and BJP would contest the elections in an alliance. The formal formula of seat-sharing would be reasonable and mutually acceptable to both partners.
The state assembly elections in Maharashtra will be held on October 21. The elections for 288 assembly seats will be in a single-phase across the state.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray also emphasised on the alliance.
In 1989, for the first time, the Shiv Sena and BJP struck a pre-pol alliance for Lok Sabha elections. It also decided to retain the alliance for the Assembly elections. In 1990 Assembly elections, the Shiv Sena which was the big brother with greater hold in Maharashtra contested 171 seats and BJP contested 117 seats.
The results show Shiv Sena won 52 seats and polled 15.94 per cent vote share, whereas the BJP won 42 seats with 10.71 per cent vote share.
The Congress, which was the leading party, came to power with an absolute majority. The NCP, which was not in existence then, parted ways from Congress and was formed in 1999, lead by Sharad Pawar.
In the successive elections held in 1995, riding the hard Hindutva post demolition of Babri Masjid, saffron alliance for the first time returned to power in Maharashtra. It defeated Congress. The Shiv Sena remained ahead with 73 seats and vote share of 16.39 per cent. Though with second position, the BJP seat tally increased to 65 seat and vote share 12.80 per cent.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi became the chief minister and BJP’s Gopinath Munde was made the deputy CM. Barely six months ahead of the polls, Sena replaced Joshi with street-smart Narayan Rane
However, Sena-BJP caught in power tussle for the chief ministerial post in Maharasthra, landed itself in trouble in next elections held in 1999. The NDA government had preponed the elections by six months hoping to take advantage of the feel-good factor of the centre which was under the leadership of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
The 1999 elections saw Shiv Sena tally declining to 69 seats, but vote share marginally increased to 17.33 per cent. In comparison, the BJP’s seat tally also reduced to 56 seats but vote share rose to 14.56 per cent.
While saffron was voted out of power, the Congress-NCP for the first time formed the coalition government in Maharashtra with late Vilasrao Deshmukh as the chief minister.
However, Shiv Sena being the larger party retained the leader of opposition post in the state assembly. The successive assembly elections held in 2004 and 2009 saw Sena and BJP contesting together, unable to take on the political might of Congress-NCP which retained power.
However, BJP’s seats and vote share remained steady in 2004 at 54 seats and 13.67 per cent votes polled, whereas, Shiv Sena won 62 seat and polled 19.97 per cent votes. In 2009, BJP’s seat tally came down to 46 seats with 14.02 votes with Sena at 45 seats and 16.02 per cent. Interestingly, BJP was ahead of Sena in 2009 elections by just one seat. The Shiv Sena’s big brother image was dented by the BJ for the first time.
The big breakthrough for the BJP came in 2014 Assembly elections which were held six months after the Lok Sabha elections, where Moditva was the central factor.
The Sena and BJP, which contested Lok Sabha elections together, decide to part ways following differences over seat-sharing. Sena had declared it would not concede less than 150 seats out of 288 seats. BJP wanted Sena to accept 147 seats. It also wanted 14 seats to accommodate smaller allies like the Republican Party of India, Rashtriya Samaj Party, and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana. However saffron alliance broke, setting the stage for multi-cornered contest in Maharashtra.
The 2014 Assembly polls saw BJP emerging as the single largest party in Maharashtra, winning 122 seats with a vote share of 27.08 per cent, whereas Sena had set its foot on the second position – bagging 63 seat and vote share of 19.03 per cent.
The Congress won 42 seats and NCP 41 seats. The smaller parties and independents together were confined to 20 seats.