‘Lusty’ vs ‘Napunsak': Sena trash talks BJP but will have to yield in the end
On the face of it, there’s no end in sight to the tussle between the Shiv Sena and BJP over the seat sharing formula for the upcoming state elections in Maharashtra. And this is despite them seemingly having the upper hand due to strong feelings of anti-incumbency against the Congress-NCP government in the state.
The talks between the two parties have completely broken down and the BJP central leadership has given its Maharashtra unit a free run on deciding on the fate of the alliance given the Shiv Sena’s “unreasonable and high-handed” behaviour, a senior state BJP leader was quoted as saying.The Sena has also reportedly sought the opinion of its vibhag pramukhs on the matter and is not only firm that the BJP should recognise their authority on the seat sharing talks but also on which party the next chief minister will hail from if the alliance wins.
“It is for the people to decide if they trust me. They will decide whom they want as the face (chief minister). I am not hankering after any post but will not shy away from responsibility either..But the face will be from Shiv Sena only,” Uddhav Thackeray had said in an interview on Saturday.
However, BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that the talks on who should be Chief Minister should be held only after the elections are over and is expected to personally say something along those lines to Thackeray when he sits down with him in Mumbai.
The two parties have been battling over seat sharing in the state with the BJP, for the first time ever, seeking to contest the same number of seats as the Sena. As per the calculation, the BJP and Shiv Sena will contest 135 seats while the four other smaller parties that form the ‘Mahayuti’ alliance will contest the other 18 seats.Another formula that was reportedly suggested was that the BJP would fight 126 seats, Shiv Sena would contest 144 and the smaller allies would get 18 seats, which again was unacceptable to the regional party.
An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna which threatened that “excessive lust leads to divorce”, didn’t help matters at all. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut who attempted to bat for Uddhav was also smacked down with the BJP’s spokesperson dismissing his views saying that he was not a top leader of the party.
Another BJP leader also jokingly told the Express that “impotence was also a cause for divorce” hinting at the Sena’s flagging electoral performance.
However, what the BJP has going for it is the fact that it won 23 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra, while the Shiv Sena managed only 18, and the Modi factor which could play a role in the upcoming state elections as well. A flagging Shiv Sena was revived by what was ostensibly a wave of support for the BJP and Modi in the Lok Sabha elections, and have stayed on as alliance partners despite the BJP’s not-so-hidden overtures to rival faction, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in the past.The Shiv Sena may have little choice but to yield to its resurgent ally but retain a tiny majority in the seat sharing formula. While the Shiv Sena may hold out for the Chief Minister’s chair in the event that it does come to power, it will find it difficult to find a popular face from within who doesn’t have Thackeray as a surname, or is acceptable to the BJP.