Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth consecutive time even after the predicted anti-incumbency of 15 years against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In a bitterly contested election, after a long day of counting, NDA alliance won 125 seats, only 3 seats above the majority mark of 122 while the Mahagathbandhan of RJD, Congress etc won 110 seats.
A party, however, that emerged as the greatest loser of the Bihar 2020 Assembly elections was Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena, lost deposits in all the seats that it contested and got votes lower than that of NOTA. However, as is the norm with Shiv Sena, they are hardly ever low on confidence even in the face of defeat. In the party mouthpiece Saamna, Shiv Sena has dubbed the choice of CM of Bihar as an ‘insult to democracy’.
#Breaking | @ShivSena, via its mouthpiece slams @NitishKumar; says that if he is given the CM post despite his party coming 3rd, then its an ‘insult of democracy. It also draws a comparison with giving gold medal to a wrestler who lost the bout. pic.twitter.com/Gn2PF1MQ5Z— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 12, 2020
In an editorial, Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna wrote, “If he is given the CM post despite his party coming 3rd, then its an ‘insult of democracy.” It also compared the decision to giving a gold medal to a wrestler who lost the bout.
The political drama of Maharashtra
Interestingly, while Shiv Sena has taken exception to Nitish Kumar becoming the CM of Bihar despite JDU coming in third, around a year ago, Maharashtra Assembly election results gave a clear verdict in favour of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance under NDA, however, Shiv Sena had something else in mind. Despite a pre-poll alliance with BJP, Shiv Sena decided to ally with Congress and NCP in its lust to see Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister.
After the election results, a bitter battle erupted between Shiv Sena and BJP where Shiv Sena claimed that it had been promised the seat of the CM, while BJP summarily denied any such deal. What unfolded due to the conflict between BJP and Shiv Sena last year was a huge political mess and unexpected alliance between NCP, Congress, and Shiv Sena.
BJP had won 105 seats compared to 56 won by Shiv Sena. Even then, Sena leaders wanted Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister of the state. They had alleged that BJP promised them that Thackeray would be CM for 2.5 years and Fadnavis for 2.5 years. BJP had categorically denied the claim. Several seats that Shiv Sena managed to win in Maharashtra 2019 Assembly elections were because of their alliance with BJP. In fact, several of their poll pitches and posters even had Prime Minister Narendra Modi feature prominently in them.
Essentially, one can easily say that Shiv Sena, by no measure, won the 56 seats because of the people’s mandate but because the people thought they were fighting in an alliance with BJP. Even so, despite getting only 56 seats, Shiv Sena wanted the CM post for itself, thereby ditching a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
In that transpired then, BJP swore-in Devendra Fadnavis as CM with NCP’s support for a couple of days, but it ended after Sharad Pawar intervened and claimed the decision to form an alliance with BJP was his nephew’s Ajit Pawar’s doing, and he didn’t approve of it. Later, Shiv Sena allied with Congress and NCP to form the government and appointed Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister. The parties that had locked horns in the past are now running a rogue government in the financial capital of India that is hell-bent on persecuting anyone, including journalists, for criticising them.
After everything that transpired in Maharashtra, the very fact that Uddhav Thackeray is today Maharashtra’s CM proves that his party, Shiv Sena, has paltry regard for not just alliances, but even what the people’s mandate is in an election. For them to now raise questions as Nitish Kumar gets set to become the CM of Bihar for the fourth time, is hypocritical. The fact remains that JDU and BJP fought the election after entering into a pre-poll alliance and votes cast for either JDU or BJP was keeping that alliance in mind. Whereas, Shiv Sena, in blatant disregard to the mandate, decided to ally with the parties that the people of Maharashtra clearly did not want.
It is said that politics makes for strange bed-fellows and Shiv Sena has epitomised that adage. For it to now pretend as if it respects democracy, is a cosmic joke in itself.