Maharashtra polls: Why BJP won’t break alliance with Shiv Sena

The numbers are on BJP’s side. The party still won’t ditch its ally.

 |  3-minute read |   05-09-2019
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With the model code of conduct for the Maharashtra state Assembly elections likely to kick in from around September 15, the talks around the possible seat-sharing arrangement between the BJP and Shiv Sena have gained momentum.

Union home minister Amit Shah made it clear at a rally in Solapur on September 1 that the party will continue the alliance with Shiv Sena. This is significant against the backdrop of the BJP’s internal survey which shows that it could win at least 160 of the 288 Assembly seats if it goes solo in this election.

The survey also states that Shiv Sena will remain under 50 seats if the alliance breaks. A BJP leader familiar with the survey’s findings said that the party has earmarked 170 constituencies that it wants to contest across the state. “We are confident that the Shiv Sena will agree to leave these seats for us,” he said.

BJP’s strategists believe that the Shiv Sena will accept its plan as its chief Uddhav Thackeray is not in a position to campaign across the state owing to health issues.

india-today-690_090519121857.jpgUddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is not in a position to bargain hard with the BJP. Amit Shah can clearly dictate terms. (Photo: India Today)

His son Aaditya is yet to prove his mettle. It will be a win-win situation for both the parties. The BJP plans to win at least 150 of the chosen 170 seats and secure the half-way mark (145 seats) in the Assembly on its own.

At the same time, the BJP has planned to restrict Shiv Sena to around 70 seats. “If we could win only 130 seats, the rest 158 seats will go to Shiv Sena as well as Congress and NCP. They can come together to keep us at bay using the Karnataka formula,” the leader said. Interestingly, in 2016, NCP leader Ajit Pawar mooted the idea of forming a Shiv Sena-led government backed by Congress and NCP. The numbers were on their side but Thackeray was not in a mood to take on the BJP.

Aaditya not okay talking politics?

When Aaditya Thackeray reached Yavatmal — where most farmers’ suicides took place — on August 25 to interact with selected college students, the Yuva Sena president was not prepared for a political question.

During the 40-minute interaction under ‘Aaditya Samvad’, he talked about shortcomings in the examination and semester system, as well as strengthening infrastructure in educational institutes.

However, when a student, Rahul Patil, asked him why the Shiv Sena did not withdraw support to the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government over highest number of farmers suicides in its tenure, Aaditya could not hide his frustration.

He asked Patil which party he belonged to. When Patil clarified that he was not affiliated to any political party, Aaditya started explaining how the government has done good things for the farmers.

He tried to explain that the government has done a lot, including distribution of seeds, fodder and fertilisers, and constructing farm ponds. But the 500-strong audience was not satisfied. The response to Aadtiya’s clarification was cold.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: Aaditya Thackeray 2.0: Meet the urban, urbane Shiv Sena leader who's visibly evolved in the last 9 years

Writer

Kiran Tare Kiran Tare @kirantare

The writer is senior associate editor, India Today.

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