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SAGA CORNER

Shiv Sena Ministers threaten en masse resignation before civic polls in Maharashtra

Even as the Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray is confident of victory in the civic polls in Mumbai, he wants to unite all the regional parties in forming a Third Front specifically against the BJP. Several attempts to form such a Front against the Congress and the Lotus party in the past has come a cropper. 

Thackeray underlined the need for deciding on a Common Minimum Programme in “”countering the arrogance of the present rulers.”” Clearly the Shiv Sena is keen to make a big bang debut in the national arena.

Significantly, the Shiv Sena supremo has only singled out the BJP for special treatment but kept the doors ajar in case the Congress is willing to join such a grouping. 

Does it mean the Shiv Sena is seeking to bring about a subtle change in its policy which was akin to that the Lotus party. This assumes significance as it is the first time that the Old Lady of Bori Bunder has entered into an alliance with the Samajwadi party in UP, reminiscent of the 2015 a la ‘Mahagatbandhan’ in Bihar resulting in the BJP losing this battleground state in the Cow belt. 

While being proud of denying the Saffron brigade a majority on its own in the Maharashtra assembly elections in 2014, Thackeray has made no bones of his growing angst against the Lotus party. He has not shied away from launching a frontal attack against the BJP leaders both at the Centre as well in Maharashtra. In a far reaching move he has threatened to snap electoral ties with the BJP which can hurt the latter in the crucial state of Maharashtra. 

Thackeray was unsparing in his attack against Mahrashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who has sought to underplay the serious differences affirming that his coalition government was not in any danger. He has not forgotten the Shiv Sena’s betrayal by the BJP’s sudden decision of going it alone in the state assembly elections 2014. 

He has expressed his pain at missing the thought and vision of leaders like former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, sidelined party stalwart and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani as well as the late Pramod Mahajan. The importance of ruling Maharashtra cannot be undermined which is a highly industrialised state and most importantly Mumbai being the financial capital of the country. 

Fresh from his stunning victory in the April-May general elections in 2014 when Narendra Modi managed a majority for the BJP on its own bagging 282 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. Along with its allies the NDA crossed the rubicon of 300 finishing with a tally of 340 seats. 

Boosted by Modi’s charisma the saffron brigade moved past the three figure mark in the Mahrashtra assembly for the first time three years back. There is no doubt the Shiv Sena is turning the heat on the BJP with Mumbai Civic elections barely a fortnight away. There is intense speculation that the Fadnavis government might be rocked by mass resignations of the Shiv Sena ministers. These ministers met the chief minister earlier this week and submitted a memorandum demanding a loan waiver for the state’s farmers. 

After meeting Fadnavis, the Shiv Sena ministers spoke to the media saying they were carrying their resignation letters in their pockets. Sources suggest that the resignations might be submitted close to he civic polls thereby creating a stir and a sympathy wave for the Shiv Sena. A similar stunt had been evidenced in 2015 before the elections to the Municipal Corporation of Kalyan- Dombivli, Mumbai’s satellite city. 

It may be recalled that Eknath Shinde resigned publicly at a rally on the last day of campaigning where the Shiv Sena and BJP contested separately. Shinde’s resignation grabbed attention and facilitated in building pressure on the government after which Thackeray rejected his resignation. It is, therefore, not surprising that the BJP is highly circumspect about the Shiv Sena resorting to pressure tactics against the Fadnavis government yet again.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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