Updated on: Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 07:03 AM IST

Guest column: The SWOT of Shiv Sena

The single largest party, BJP, which won 106 seats and has a few Independents supporting them, is surely lagging in the race to forming the government.

The nativist party Shiv Sena is in a sweet spot right now, with regards to Maharashtra politics. Despite winning 56 seats in the recently concluded assembly elections (lesser than what it did last time), the party seems to have an edge in bargaining with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The single largest party, BJP, which won 106 seats and has a few Independents supporting them, is surely lagging in the race to forming the government.

It is interesting to use two management tools to analyse which help make sense of the current situation, basically scenario building and SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, to see how the party is being positioned in the days to come.

There are three emerging scenarios following the election. In the first scenario, the BJP will get its own Chief Minister (CM) – wherein it manages to convince its ally Sena with few plum cabinet portfolios.

Sena’s posturing of being hellbent on not giving-in seems bleak till going to print. However, this also comes with a caveat, in politics nothing can be ruled out.

The second scenario is, though the BJP has unwillingly agreed to Sena’s demand to have it’s CM for the first two-and-half years of the term, it does seem, the BJP will have to go through the humiliation of playing second fiddle to the Sena – a prospect Sena won’t be too happy about.

Also, once in power, the BJP is bound to play exactly the same role that the Sena played in the last five years, dual one, as an Opposition, while still being in power.

The third scenario, in this mad rush of power is, where the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress will support the Sena-led government. This possibility will change the course of politics in Maharashtra, in more ways than one.

For starters, it will for the first time will be seen, the all powerful BJP can be unseated and humbled in the second largest state of India. It will give a fillip and impetus to other regional parties to take the BJP heads-on in the upcoming polls in different states.

However, an angry and bruised BJP will leave no stone unturned to keep this alliance of convenience shaky. With 106 seats and a few independents in it’s kitty, this party will ensure this formation doesn’t run smoothly.

A favourable Ayodhya verdict will also give BJP an impetus to target and defame Sena on its Hindutva credentials. This is something even the strategists of Sena are aware of.

However, the SWOT analysis currently seems to be favouring the Sena. It’s strength is that despite winning lesser number of seats than in 2014, it is in a stronger bargaining position, as against its ally, the BJP. NCP and Congress’s deep desire to unseat BJP have also rendered an extra muscle to this bargaining power of the Sena.

Its strength is also its weakness. Exactly in the case of CM Kumaraswamy in Karnataka, the smaller parties will be always at the mercy of bigger allies. Especially, if the ally is like BJP.

Sena will of course try to give back to the BJP in equal measures in the Mumbai civic polls in two years and other local body in ensuing elections.

The CM post will surely give a lot of opportunities to the Sena to build its organisation across the state. This will prove positive for the party and Sena’s stock among other regional parties in the country will also go up.

Lastly, a bruised and insulted BJP continues to be Sena’s biggest threat. Sena derives its power from controlling the country’s richest civic body, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation. The BJP will be ready to render a body blow to the Sena’s unchallenged prowess in the BMC.

Maharashtra politics is poised for entertaining times ahead.

(Ketan Vaidya is a senior journalist)

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Published on: Wednesday, November 06, 2019, 07:03 AM IST