Shiv Sena playing opportunistic politics, demand for CM post ‘unfair’
The Shiv Sena is using its ‘king-maker’ position to extort the post of the Chief Minister from the BJP, which nearly won twice as many seats as its ally in the recently concluded polls, political observers say.
In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44. However, the ruling combine of BJP and Shiv Sena hasn’t staked claim to form a government amid an ongoing standoff over the CM’s post.
Sena’s CM demand unfair
Since the poll results were declared, several Sena leaders have slammed its ally BJP for disregarding the 50:50 power-sharing formula, both in terms of cabinet ministers and the post of the Chief Minister.
On their part, BJP ministers maintain that there was no such agreement and the incumbent Devendra Fadnavis was always going to be the NDA’s nominee for the CM’s post.
Simply put, both parties are sticking to their respective narratives and there is no saying who has gone back on their word.
Having said that, political observers say it is unfair for the Bal Thackeray-founded party to seek a CM’s post knowing full well that its ally won nearly twice as many seats and its relatively poor performance compared to the 2014 polls.
“The Shiv Sena emerged as the second biggest party in Maharashtra, which should entitle them to a fair number of cabinet posts. However, demanding a post of CM seems opportunistic and far fetched,” a veteran state leader, on the condition of anonymity, told Local Press Co.
“Yes, there have been instances where parties with lesser seats have got their way. But, either that combination hasn’t worked in the long term or people have seen through such strategies. If the Sena sticks to its current course of action, it will lose the people’s trust, irrespective of the outcome,” he said.
“Nevertheless, if the Sena sides with NCP and Congress over the CM post, it loses its oldest ally and runs the risk of alienating a large number of its voters for what can only be deemed an unstable government of ideological opponents,” he added.
Shiv Sena’s greed may be its downfall
Shubham Mittal, a keen observer of politics in Maharashtra, said the ‘greed’ for the CM’s post may be the party’s downfall.
“In the past, Sena hasn’t shied away from blaming Congress for its dynasty politics. But, the same party doesn’t find anything wrong with recommending Aaditya Thackeray, a first-time MLA, as a contender for the CM’s post. Moreover, would they have pursued the post with the same vigour if the BJP was in a position to claim majority without their support?” he quipped.
“I am not sure if the BJP has reneged on its promise and we will probably never know. To form a government without the BJP, the Sena needs Congress’ support. But Uddhav Thackeray knows better than to ally with Congress, which has always been its ideological opponent. If it still chooses to go down that route, it risks losing its two-decade-old ally and the trust of people who voted for Sena candidates due to its alliance with the BJP. That might be the single biggest mistake of Uddhav since he took over as party president and trigger Sena’s downfall,” Mittal added.
Meanwhile, amid the current political imbroglio that has engulfed the state, Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday reiterated that the state’s next chief minister would be from his party.
“The Chief Minister will be from Shiv Sena only. The face and politics of Maharashtra are changing, you will see. What you call ‘hungama’, is not ‘hungama’. It is a fight for justice and rights and the victory will be ours,” he told reporters.
The statement comes when the BJP and the Shiv Sena are engaged in back-channel negotiations on government formation.