State news

Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena Appears inching closer to BJP

By Dilip Chaware

Though it is too early to say so, the Shiv Sena is perceived to be softening its stance towards the BJP after their separation over two and a half years ago. Chief minister Eknath Shinde’s Sena faction, too, is assisting the remarriage by holding its punches against Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray.

This possibility is emerging as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, the two Sena partners in the outgoing Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) tripartite government, have expressed public displeasure against Thackeray’s two decisions. While NCP chief Sharad Pawar has stated that the NCP was not consulted beforehand of the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, the Congress has described Thackeray’s decision to vote for NDA Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu as ‘incomprehensible.’ Thackeray has kept mum about the protests of both former allies.

Significantly, neither the BJP nor the Shinde faction has fired a volley against Uddhav ever since their alliance government has been sworn in. Moreover, Shinde faction’s prominent members have time and again expressed loyalty and respect towards Uddhav. Also, they have reiterated that their only demand was to go with the BJP and snap ties with the NCP and the Congress. Thackeray’s green signal for supporting Murmu is considered significant against this developing scenario.

The insistence by most Sena MPs to go for Murmu and Thackeray’s positive response to their urging will pave the way for more overtures from both sides, it is felt. Decks will clear after the supreme court grants a breather or takes more time to consider the various petitions regarding the developments in Maharashtra before it. By then, Murmu will have been elected with a comfortable majority.

Dilip Chaware
A veteran journalist, formerly Special Correspondent, The Times of India, Mumbai.

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