Shiv Sena tends to loose more than gain in assembly elections due to its ego.
A marriage of 25 years ended just because they couldn’t find a common ground anymore. The Bhartiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra saw an ego tussle size of a big elephant.
Both parties want to lead – Sena due to its nature and history; BJP because it did not want to play the second fiddle to regional parties anymore. BJP is banking big on the famous Modi-wave which Sena accepts and rejects at will. On the other hand, Sena thinks it is their right to belittle others simply because they once had Balasaheb Thackeray as its chief.
The alliance had taken shape due to the efforts of late Pramod Mahajan who saw many highs and lows while trying to keep this alliance going. Balasaheb too had softened his stand a bit but the noose tightened once in a while. After Balasaheb’s death, BJP was reluctant in accepting Uddhav’s supremacy. And that is where the problem started.
After the Lok Sabha results in which the BJP won 23 seats to the Sena’s 18, it started putting pressure for more seats than the 2009 formula of 169 for the Sena and 119 for the BJP. The party wanted to contest 135 seats and wanted Sena to contest equal number of seats in 288-member Maharashtra assembly. But Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s dream of becoming Maharashtra CM would not have been fulfilled then. Hence, Sena remained firm on its offer of 119 seats.
However, there were reports later that Sena had agreed to offer up to 126 seats, but the BJP wouldn’t budge from its stance. Also, BJP attacked Uddhav’s personal dreams when it said that the party emerging victorious should choose the CM opening the old wounds.
For Uddhav, this is a matter of political survival. A compromise with BJP would have upset his sainiks and questioned his capabilities to lead. This is the first state election he is leading from the front and fighting without his father around. When he announced at the party’s national executive meet that the offer of 119 seats to BJP was final, there was no going back.
In addition to this was the Raj Thackeray’s MNS angle. The BJP leadership, especially Nitin Gadkari and late Gopinath Munde, always wanted Sena and MNS to patch up. BJP cosying up to MNS during Lok Sabha elections for preventing any damage I number of votes was not approved by Sena.
Now the NCP-Congress alliance has broken, BJP’s desire of going big has strengthened because the post poll scenarios look rosy and Sena tends to loose in most of them.
First, the BJP has kept its doors open by saying that Sena is still a friend. In case both the parties win equal number of seats (60-70 each), they can come together to form a government.
Second, BJP has an advantage where NCP chooses to go with the party as it has parted ways with the Congress. Nitin Gadkari had long back advocated a BJP-NCP-MNS alliance. It will definitely hurt Sena.
Third, and last, if BJP manages to win 100-110 seats riding on the anti-incumbency and by putting candidates on all of the 288 seats, it can form the government with the help of independents or smaller parties. This again will hurt Sena’s score.
Maybe, Uddhav made a blunder listening to his ego.