BJP-Shiv Sena break-up: Is Sena beating around the bush or standing up for itself?

Politics is like a game of chess where you are never sure what will be your next move and, it is also uncertain and unpredictable. Indian Republic is never short of drama and the recent news of Maharashtra’s regional party and ally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) both at centre and state i.e. Shiv Sena announcing that they will go alone in 2019 Lok Sabha polls and assembly elections have raised a few eyebrows. It will be interesting to know what happens next in this game of thrones saga. As a matter of fact, every political party has a right to choose its own path and Shiv Sena is electing this recourse for its political benefit and sustenance.

But, politics is never short of irony and the very Shiv Sena is currently in the government both at centre and state. Despite disaffection and animosity, it will not pull the plug, and it paints a very hypocritical picture. BJP, ever since the 2014 general elections, has been on a roll and are currently ruling in 19 states with strong control over polity and decisions.

Both PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah rule with an iron fist and have openly said that they want opposition-free India and want saffron being furled at every state secretariat. Shiv Sena, which allied with BJP for the better part of last 30 years, is suddenly feeling marginalised and in Maharashtra politics and is now being treated like a junior partner. Sena founder and patriarch Late Bal Thackeray joined hands with BJP when it was politically untouchable and political liability and shared the same vision of India practicing hardcore Hindutva.

<strong>From (L) to (R): Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray, Bal Thackeray</strong>
From (L) to (R): Aaditya Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray, Bal Thackeray

Narendra Modi is a shrewd and intelligent politician and knows how to use regional parties for its advantage and when to discard them. Sena, for the past couple of years, has been given step-motherly treatment and it has angered Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray quite a bit. Thackeray has openly criticised and opposed BJP moves and through its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ has been a vocal critic of the ruling dispensation which he part is of. Sena fought the 2014 assembly elections and 2017 BMC elections separately and later on decided to kiss and make up and did a 360-degree somersault. The problem with Sena is that they are consistently inconsistent and their stand on various issues contradict quite a lot.

So, what next for Uddhav Thackeray and his party? Thackeray now has to walk the talk and if he feels that they are wronged then he has to break off the alliance and tell the electorate that they are uncomfortable with BJP’s style of politics. Bal Thackeray was the original ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’ and now that the title has been taken by PM Modi, there is a huge fight going on over who is the messiah of Hindu and Marathi people.

Shiv Sena is a big player in Maharashtra and if they want to create a space for them, then they should go alone and challenge voters to vote for them. The optics can’t fool people all the time and either you are with the BJP or you are not and sooner this decision comes it will be better for Shiv Sena as a political party and for their future. Interestingly, Sena’s flag has tiger roaring and if they are a real tiger, they have to behave like one and send a clear message that they are very much alive (Tiger Zinda Hai) rather than Ek Tha Tiger.

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Free Press Journal