The Shiv Sena on Monday claimed that the NCP and Congress have agreed "in-principle" to back its government without the BJP in Maharashtra. The alliance between Shiv Sena and NCP has raised many eyebrows, but this is not the first time both parties are coming together.
According to Indian Express, late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray had backed NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s bid to become the Prime Minister when he was in the Congress. Friendship between Sharad Pawar and Balasaheb Thackeray was known to everyone. Honouring his friendship with Pawar, Thackeray had also ensured that the Sena-BJP alliance does not put a candidate against Pawar’s daughter Supriya, when she was nominated to the Rajya Sabha for the first time.
In 2007, NCP had joined hands with the Shiv Sena in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). Both parties had come together in the PMC to keep the Congress out of power. The alliance lasted only two years and they split ahead of the state Assembly elections in 2009.
Sharad Pawar, the NCP chief, is virtually in the role of the mediator between the Congress and the Shiv Sena. He held a meeting with Sonia Gandhi last week discussing the possibility of aligning with the Shiv Sena if it snapped ties with the BJP. Emerging from the meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar had asserted that the Shiv Sena should form the government with the BJP as their alliance was voted to power by the people of Maharashtra.
Amid a flurry of meetings in Mumbai and in New Delhi, Arvind Sawant signalled his party's exit from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and accused the BJP of reneging on its promise for equal division of seats and power and forcing the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to snap ties. His resignation came after Pawar said the Shiv Sena will have to first snap ties with the NDA so his party can take a call on supporting the saffron outfit.