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Uddhav Thackeray’s tightrope act in a divided Shiv Sena

The discontent within the Shiv Sena has forced Thackeray to talk tough against BJP.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Nagpur |
Updated: December 20, 2014 3:09:51 pm
Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray. The discontent within the Shiv Sena has forced Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to talk tough against BJP. (Source: IE archive)

The Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray finds the divide within his own organization widening as it has not reconciled to playing second fiddle to the BJP in Maharashtra. The power tussle between those who are in power in state government and those outside is turning into a tightrope walk for Thackeray.

During his visit to Nagpur on Thursday, he tried to address the simmering discontent within the Shiv Sena organization by warning that they should be ready for full mandate next time and that the present arrangement may not last forever.

Sena sources revealed, Thackeray at the party meeting asserted, “Start work from now to get full mandate next time. This is just temporary. And make the most in the government.” In candid admission some also dismissed this as a pressure tactic to signal the BJP not to take them for granted.

Highly placed sources in the Sena revealed to Indian Express, “At present Sena is divided in two groups. Those who are enjoying the perks of power are happy associating with BJP. But those who are outside the power are expressing their discontent and complaining to Thackeray.”

The Sena with 63 MLAs have extended the support to BJP 121 MLAs to consolidate the government in Maharashtra. However, Sena members are restive as BJP is playing the role of big brother both in and outside government.

At the ongoing winter session of state legislative assembly, the BJP and Shiv Sena are working in coordination. On its part the BJP also ensures all the major policy decisions taken are also shared with Sena ministers before announcing on the floor of the assembly and council.

A case in point was the drought package for the region of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

However, sources indicated that Thackeray cannot allow BJP to emerge as the single driving political force in state. The Sena’s bigger concern is the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections.

In wake of the BJP’s initiative to streamline the Mumbai projects, Sena feels BJP will walk away with entire credit. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi committee with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis initiative will expedite the infrastructure projects in Mumbai.

Insiders indicated, “The NCP president Sharad Pawar’s seven-page letter to PM against CM on Mumbai committee was a ploy to provoke Sena against BJP.”

And in candid admission some also maintained, “Ahead of BMC polls BJP and Sena may jostle for the power share in the country’s richest civic body.”

However, Sena’s dilemma is any decision taken would further expose their own flip-flop, and confuse the rank and file. Now, if they issue the threat to withdraw support in next years, they would have to explain their stand in NDA in Delhi. They cannot be seen in partnership in Delhi for next five years unless they continue with BJP in state.

However, a senior BJP leader said, “We have bought truce with Sena on the conditions that power share in government would also extend to civic polls across state.”

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