New Delhi: As former allies, BJP and Shiv Sena fell apart over the formation of the government in Maharashtra, it has been decided that Sena MPs won’t sit in the Treasury Bench in the Upper House as the winter session of Parliament begins from Monday, November 18. Though neither of the parties has officially confirmed a formal break-up, all signals are there.
Officially, Shiv Sena is still a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance. But the party is likely to skip the crucial NDA meeting on Sunday in New Delhi, a day before the session begins. As an excuse, Sena insiders are citing their preoccupation on the day as it is also the death anniversary of Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
At present, Sena has no representation at the Centre. It had only one minister, Arvind Sawant handling the portfolio of heavy industries and public enterprises. He resigned when the Sena-BJP face-off reached its peak. It may be noted that NCP wanted Arvind Sawant to resign from Modi’s cabinet if Sena wants an alliance with the NCP in Maharashtra.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena go back a long way in the history of the hot-and-cold alliance. In 1984, the parties came together for the first time over a number of ideological similarities. In 2009, for the first time, BJP, the junior partner of Sena in Maharashtra, secured more seats that Shiv Sena.
The tension between the two parties surfaced in the 2014 Assembly polls where they fought separately after Sena refused to part with the number of seats that BJP wanted. By that time, BJP already emerged as the powerful partner of this alliance. However, Sena became the junior partner and joined hands to form the government. Coming to Lok Sabha, the Sena is still the biggest NDA constituent after the BJP with 18 members. But its departure will not make any difference to the government’s stability as the ruling party alone has 303 MPs in the 543-member House.
The break up of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra may have an impact on Mumbai’s mayoral polls scheduled for November 22. In the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls, the Sena had won 84 corporator seats while then-ally BJP was a close second with 82 seats in the 227-member civic house.
(With Agency Inputs)