Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Home Opinions From Hindu Hriday Samrat to Secular Liberal: Why Shiv Sena transformed itself so radically

From Hindu Hriday Samrat to Secular Liberal: Why Shiv Sena transformed itself so radically

The reason that Shiv Sena is going for this image makeover, are cold numbers. The continuous influx from other states has reduced the Marathi population in Mumbai to 38 % only. So depending upon 'Local' or 'Marathi Manus' appeal is dangerous.

‘Asmita’ like many Indian words is almost impossible to translate in English. At best, it can be defined as Pride mixed with a dash of Angst. With that settled, let us move towards the main topic, the transformation of Shiv Sena.

Hindu Hriday Samrat

Though I was never a party member, I have very happy memories of Shiv Sena. Party, run by the indomitable Hindutva icon, Balasaheb Thackeray! In the nineties and well into the new millennium, Sena was on a solid ideological footing. Along with strident Hindutva, it was known to fight for ‘Marathi Manus’ (People). It never had any difficulty in explaining its position. And it proved to be an ideal foil to BJP’s Hindu Nationalism appeal. Importantly Balasaheb’s presence gave it the much-required heft and the upper hand in this relation. Shiv Sainiks used to refer to their own party as Big Brother amongst the two, which though with reluctance, BJP leaders used to nod to. Shiv Sena, more than a political party, resembled a Militia, with an air of impregnability, run from a fortress, named Matoshree (Thackeray Residence). 

This halo of impregnability was somewhat broken in 2006, when nephew Raj, decided to quit SS and start his party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). And though in direct competition with Sena, he ensured that not even a murmur of disrespect towards Balasaheb was uttered in the party. Which in a way ensured Sena’s hold over Mumbai and Balasheb’s adulation amongst Marathi populace, till his demise. 

Welcome to brave, new world of Amit Shah

Then, two events in quick succession, Balasaheb’s death in 2012 and Modi’s BJP winning a majority on its own in 2014, changed the status quo. In the assembly elections later the same year, Amit Shah, going against the conventional logic, broke the 25-year-old alliance. His reading of the situation was accurate. The Modi wave which got BJP 282 seats in 2014 General Elections, enabled BJP to win, best ever 122 seats in October. And for the first time ever, it had its own CM.

Sharad Pawar, out of the turn extended the support to BJP, which forced Uddhav Thackeray’s hand. And Sena had to join the Government eventually. Though BJP ruled for five years with Shiv Sena as an ally, the camaraderie between BJP-Sena was over. Sena bitterly opposed BJP, on various issues throughout the term. By the time 2019 assembly elections were there, Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut, in connivance with Sharad Pawar had hatched a plan to backstab BJP.  It was promptly activated post the elections. Uddhav made impossible-to-fulfil demands to BJP and formed a Government with NCP-Congress support. Uddhav had no qualms while making this huge ideological compromise. From strident Hindutva, to sharing power with Congress, a party which, not only is steeped into minority appeasement but has also denied the very existence of Prabhu Ram, opposed Ram Mandir and many Hindu causes openly. 

Now, playing Devil’s Advocate here, one can argue that because Amit Shah decided to go alone in 2014, Uddhav returned the favour by snapping the ties after the 2019 elections. But you see this is nonsense. Sena just like most other political parties is an opportunist. It turned to Hindutva because it saw an opportunity. It stuck to Hindutva and BJP for thirty years, because BJP allowed it the space to grow. But the moment BJP became assertive and Amit Shah negotiated hard for every seat, it backstabbed BJP. 

Frenemy Shiv Sena

One look at the electoral history of Shiv Sena and it becomes even more clear. 

Lok Sabha (LS) Elections;

1971 – Contested 5 seats – won 0.
1980 – Contested 2, won 0 
1989 – Contested 3, won 1 (Alliance with BJP sealed)
1991 – Contested 22, won 4

The same year (89), it competed with BJP and fought in Goa Assembly elections, on 6 seats, drawing a blank. Again in 1991, in UP assembly elections it fought on 14 seats winning 1. In 1993, it travelled to MP, fought on 88 seats and won Zero. Here you can take a look at Sena’s electoral performance. Obviously, it’s quite abysmal other than Maharashtra. Point to be noted here is that it kept competing with BJP outside Maharashtra while having an alliance in the state for 30 long years. So this argument that Uddhav broke this alliance because a principle was compromised or some breach of faith has taken place, is just plain rubbish. Uddhav was with BJP because it suited him. In 2019 he broke the alliance to become Chief Minister. Nothing more, nothing less!

Shiv Sena when started in the sixties, used to oppose South Indians, on the pretext that they are taking away Marathi people’s jobs. They even had a shameful slogan “Uthav lungi, bajao pungi!” Obviously, targeting the attire very popular with South Indian males. It adopted Hindutva only in the eighties because they saw an emerging vote bank there. Once allied with BJP. It worked as a force multiplier for both. 

Secular, Liberal Uddhav Thackeray

If Uddhav Thackeray had made one big compromise to grab the power, to continue in power he is making a series of them. 

In December 2019 Shiv Sena supported Citizenship Amendment Law in Lok Sabha, but opposed it in Rajya Sabha. In January 2020, Uddhav equated Police action on students in JNU to 26/11. In February 2020, this Uddhav Government scrapped quota for Economically weaker Sections(EWS) in RTE, meant for poor Hindus who don’t benefit from any other quota. This was brought by the Modi Government in January 2019. I haven’t seen a more brutal attack on the interests of that section Hindu society which is poor and deprived. 

So, out of two pillars, Hindutva & protecting Interests of Marathi people, on which Sena rested, it has sacrificed Hindutva for power. And, it’s not far from giving up on the ‘Marathi party’ claim too. Just look around and you will see the telltale signs. I am not sure how many are aware, but Sena has been running a Hindi edition of Saamna since 1988. Then, there was a time when, even on national TV channels, a Marathi spokesperson used to represent the party. Since the formation of the new MVA Government, only Hindi speaking spokespersons have appeared. Regarding the prized Rajya Sabha seat, Uddhav could have nominated any old faithful party worker. But he chose a Congress defector, Hindi speaking, Priyanka Chaturvedi. There could be more reasons other than only the language. But the point remains. Another notable change, Sena, which was known to attack Gujaratis till recently, now has its leaders putting up billboards in Gujarati. 

There’s more. In its second avatar, Sena has consciously presented Aditya, a younger, liberal face, loving Cinema and seen to be friendly towards Bollywood personalities. Someone who supports nightlife, talks about soccer and ecology. 

And the reason, Sena is going for this image makeover, are cold numbers. The continuous influx from other states has reduced the Marathi population in Mumbai to 38 % only. So depending upon ‘Local’ or ‘Marathi Manus’ appeal is dangerous. Another important data point which must be haunting Uddhav is, that a sizable Marathi population has a preference for BJP over Sena in many elections. 

Hence it makes perfect sense for Sena to make a shift from a ‘Marathi Manus’ party to a more inclusive outfit. Episodes like destroying Kangana Ranaut’s office or attacking ex-Navy officer Madan Sharma are decoys to make Marathi people believe that it’s still their old Shiv Sena. 

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Ajay Sudamehttp://ajaxngp.blogspot.com/
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is a conservative, capitalist, nationalist and global warming denier. He was a Karsevak in 1992. Engaged in Sales Management and Training for living. Tweets @ajaysudame

Related Articles

Trending now

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

Jinnah’s ideology: Prof Brij Narain, a strong supporter of Pakistan’s creation, was hacked to death by an Islamist mob in Lahore in 1947

Prof Brij Narain, an enthusiastic exponent of Pakistan, was hacked to death in broad daylight by a Muslim mob even as he kept pleading them to stop ransacking his house in Lahore in the wake of partition .

India-China standoff: Indian army captures PLA soldier, probing espionage angle

The army stated that the PLA personnel will be handed over to the Chinese officials at Chushul-Moldo meeting point, following the completion of formalities.

If Congress comes back to power, it will be impossible to utter a word against them

This time, they will have a third and most potent weapon: technology and dominance in the digital space.

‘Uddhav Thackeray has formed a special team to bring down Republic TV, Arnab has to be locked up’: Explosive sting reveals MVA govt plot

"The strategy is to lock him (Arnab Goswami) behind bars. Nobody can save his channel from being banned," the Congress leader said.

Recently Popular

After Chinese phones blocking weather data for Arunachal and Ladakh, now Twitter shows Leh as part of China

Security analyst Nitin A Gokhale found that Twitter has labelled Leh in Ladakh as part of People's Republic of China (PRC)

In 2012 ‘out of town’ Salman Khan partied with Parambir Singh in Mumbai on day Bandra cops could not serve him Court summons for...

As reported by Mid-Day in 2012, Salman Khan and Parambir Singh were both found attending a Christmas party hosted by Sunny Dewan and his wife Anu Dewan in Mumbai. This when the Bandra cops claimed Khan was not in town.

During 26/11 Mumbai attack, Param Bir Singh refused to be on ground and take on terrorists, then Mumbai CP Hasan Gafoor had said

Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh of not taking on the terrorists.

Pro-congress journalists and trolls target Amitabh Bachchan’s son-in-law Nikhil Nanda when another Nikhil Nanda criticised Rahul Gandhi

Nikhil Nanda, the MD of JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Limited, had exposed Rahul Gandhi for criticising India's handling of COVID-19 crisis

Shashi Tharoor wears Mani Shankar Aiyar’s hat, denigrates India and praises Pakistan at Lahore Literature Festival, claims Modi govt targeting Muslims

Shashi Tharoor denigrated India and praised Pakistan during a discussion at the Lahore Literature Festival.

Odisha lawyer Mehendi Reza gives rape threats to Kangana Ranaut on Navratri post, claims Facebook ID was ‘hacked’

Actress Kangana Ranaut receives rape threat on her post wishing people for Navratri.
- Advertisement -

Days after an Islamist brutally beheaded a teacher, France Govt prepares to expel 231 religious extremists from the country

France is planning to come down hard on religious extremists after an Islamic youth beheaded a teacher recently

Congress, media target Varun Gandhi for unwillingness to speak to a stranger late at night: Here is who the man was and why he...

The Congress party has decided to go after BJP MP Varun Gandhi after a leaked version of his conversation found its way to the media.

India formally invites Australia to join the 2020 Malabar trilateral naval exercise, Australia confirms full participation: Read details

It will be the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will participate in the Malabar naval exercise

Rajasthan: Two minor girls gang-raped, police shift victims to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw instead of ambulance

Two minors gang-raped by six in Rajasthan. Police conducting raids at various locations in search of accused.

Dance moves by Dr Arup in Silchar, Assam wins Internet, inspires Hrithik Roshan

The Assam doctor's dance video has gone viral on social media, gaining thousands of likes and comments.

Family of girl murdered in terror attack condemns BBC for providing platform to terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, painting her as a victim: Read details

Ahlam Tamimi was convicted and sentenced for 16 years her role in a pizza parlour bombing in Jerusalem in 2001 before her imprisonment was cut short in a prisoner-exchange deal with Hamas

Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami to sue Param Bir Singh for Rs 200 crore after Maha Govt’s admission in Mumbai High court

Maha Govt and Mumbai police distances itself from the allegations meted out at Republic TV by PC Param Bir Singh

Frustrated with “rants” of Shashi Tharoor, MP Nishikant Dubey requests Lok Sabha speaker to put him in a committee where there is no Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor yesterday ranted against Republic TV and Times Now, issuing 'moral sermons' to the corporates who financed the aforementioned news channels

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
464,943FollowersFollow
18,700SubscribersSubscribe