Despite fighting the polls in alliance with BJP, Shiv Sena’s tally of 56 seats — seven less than 2014 — in the Assembly polls has come as a shock to the party. The only consolation is that in spite of fewer MLAs, its heft in the alliance has increased as the BJP’s own tally has also dropped from 2014.
The results are an indicator that the Sena’s game of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares — sharing power and conducting itself like an Opposition party when convenient — has not gone down well with the people, said party insiders.
“The results clearly show that our double speak hasn’t worked for us, as we could not even retain our 2014 tally. Now, we will have to chart out our new path very carefully,” said a Sena functionary.
A Sena leader said the party needs to re-work its strategy to expand its base in the state. “After forging the alliance, it was being said that the BJP would attempt to finish the Sena and might not take us along in 2024 polls. So, we need to strategise things to keep the party relevant in the state,” said the leader.
Another leader said the party might need to go beyond organising events to expand its reach. “The party involved the Prashant Kishor team for the Assembly polls and we held multiple events like Aaditya Sanvad and others. But it seems to have not worked in our favour during the polls.”
Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena spokesperson, said the party has always taken a stand on issues affecting the people. “We will maintain our stand on policy issues and that will be decisive,” said Gorhe when asked about the Nanar oil refinery and Aarey tree felling issues.