Shiv Sena breaks its alliance with BJP on Balasaheb Thackeray’s birth anniversary, to contest 2019 alone

In its national executive meet on the birth anniversary of the legendary Balasaheb Thackerey, the Shiv Sena passed a resolution in favour of contesting the Lok Sabha polls next year, breaking its traditional alliance with the BJP. Uddhav Thackerey also vowed to contest in every state for the cause of ‘Hindutva’.

The decision to contest the polls alone was taken after Sanjay Raut had moved a resolution in this regard. The Shiv Sena chief also took the opportunity to take digs at the Prime Minister. He questioned Narendra Modi for not organizing any roadshows at Lal Chowk in Srinagar and traveling abroad for diplomatic visits.

Troubles between the Shiv Sena and the BJP began soon after Narendra Modi took office. Last year, Shiv Sena criticized Narendra Modi’s Bullet Train drive in the harshest of terms, calling it an “expensive dream” which will “loot the nation of Rs 108,000 crore”.

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The party had also criticized the Demonetization of currency notes by the Prime Minister saying it had turned people into beggars. Earlier that year, Uddhav Thackerey had deemed the Modi government the worst ever.

Things reached a peak when the Shiv Sena Chief extended his hands towards Hardik Patel, the self proclaimed Patidar leader from Gujarat who has been a vehement critic of the Prime Minister, whose associates have often been uncouth and extremely disrespectful with his choice of words. Uddhav Thackerey has also met Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, whom he described as a ‘tigress‘. Now that Shiv Sena has officially broken its alliance with BJP, if it does go on to ally with ‘secular’ parties against BJP in 2019, it will be interesting to witness how Shiv Sena reconciles its Hindutva with minority appeasement politics.

The breaking up of the Shiv Sena alliance and its increasing affinity towards ‘secular’ leaders such as Mamata Banerjee in recent years is symbolic of the tectonic shift that Indian Politics has undergone since 2014. Until now, it would have been unimaginable that the party of Balasaheb Thackerey could ever contemplate of pitting itself on the same side of parties such as the Trinamool Congress and associate itself with leaders such as Hardik Patel. The ball is now in Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s Court and it’s up to them now to respond to the latest move by Shiv Sena.

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