Folks, I just remembered. Shiv Sena is supposed to be an ally. I just thought I would say that because laughter is supposed to be a really good thing.
If there is one party of sore losers that has been nipping at BJP’s heels for a while, it’s the Shiv Sena. But RW generally choose to laugh off the Shiv Sena and roll their eyes each time the Sena starts bawling like a kid throwing a tantrum in the desserts aisle at the supermarket. Nevertheless, I thought I would just collect a few thoughts here about the Sena, partly to gloat and perhaps…maybe…if there is some Sena man with half an iota of common sense reading this…to tell them that they are about to jump off a cliff. After all they are still technically an ally and I have some respect for Balasaheb Thackeray…
So, who was that? Was it Sanjay Raut the other day who said Modi rule is worse than the Nizam? I don’t know about that, but if Shiv Sena doesn’t want to be worse off than CPIM in a few years, they better listen and stop working on whatever “plan” they think they are working on…
You know, Shiv Sena…in our democracy, incumbent governments get thrown out all the time. Voters get angry and kick out one party, fall in love with another and then five years later, they suddenly are back in love with the previous one…happens all the time. No biggie. But you know who gets genuinely punished by the voters? You know who gets squeezed out of the electoral system altogether?
Parties like YOU. Like Shiv Sena, who are enjoying in power AND still bellyaching about it. Because you are enjoying power, the public gives you no points for anti-incumbency. And because you keep bellyaching about the ruling party, the public gives you no points for achievements of the government. You simply become the negative, non-constructive force, a drag on our resources and a drain on our patience. People stop giving a damn about you, they roll their eyes and laugh derisively. In the next election, they forget about you.
The *best* example of this would be the CPIM and UPA-I. The CPIM contributed nothing to that government except unending negativity. And so when India gave a pro-incumbency verdict in 2009, the CPIM found itself nowhere in the picture. It was neither seen as ruling nor in the opposition. It was forgotten.
I must mention here that I believe Amit Shah’s Maharashtra gambit is one of his magnificent, definitely at par with his 73/80 innings in UP. Snapping a decades old alliance with Shiv Sena barely 3 weeks before the election in a mammoth state like Maharashtra is no joke. When ties were snapped, there were less than 3 full days for candidates to file nominations. Such was the confusion that the Sakal Times (actually a fairly reputable publication) reported that BJP had failed to file nominations for some 3 dozen seats! Yes, the BJP fell 19 seats short in Maharashtra playing such a risky innings, but it flipped a decades old alliance on its head in just a month. Overnight BJP went from No. 4 to No. 1 in Maharashtra, from junior partner of Sena to winning twice as many seats as the Sena! The BJP won 123 seats, whereas for the last two decades the BJP had been allowed to contest just 117 seats under the alliance formula! Add to this the fact that Maharashtra has always been a core Congress state (until 2014, Congress had ruled Maharashtra for all but 4 years since independence…this probably makes Maharashtra the state that has spent max number of years under Congress). Consider the size of the state and the blow that it struck to the Congress…don’t forget that Maharashtra is a big moneybag state! Amit Shah’s Maharashtra flip might be BJP’s single biggest achievement of this decade….Maharashtra is bigger than Karnataka, so this eclipses the 2008 victory there.
So, let me sketch a simple picture for what is going to happen to the Shiv Sena. It is going to spend 5 years kicking and screaming and irritating everyone, but still enjoying the red beacon cars. One special feature of Maharashtra is that the poll happens within 4-5 months of the Lok Sabha election, thus giving a huge advantage to the ruling party at the Center. This is the main reason the Congress managed to hold power in Maharashtra in 2004 and 2009, despite the truly pathetic performance of the state government. Okay, what happens to Maharashtra if Modi loses in 2019? First of all, it won’t happen. Secondly, if it does happen, Congress will win back Maharashtra and BJP would be the main opposition. What will be left for Shiv Sena to do?
Now on to the more likely scenario. There will be LS polls in 2019, which I believe BJP is going to win. And Modi-II will be in no mood to offer the Sena an alliance in the state assembly polls, that too so soon after a Lok Sabha win. Suffice to say that in 2019 the BJP will be much better prepared than in 2014…and it wont fall short of 19 seats. It won’t need the Sena any more. Neither will the opposition.
Where does that leave the Shiv Sena? In the dustbin. Fortunately, it belongs there…
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