Update: The break up of the two parties has been confirmed. The 25-year-old Mahayuti alliance is over
New Delhi: Amit Shah has cancelled his visit to Mumbai today. A one line message to this effect was sent out by the party’s media department.
This is a very clear indication that he does want to be part of any further negotiations with the Shiv Sena and the talks between the two parties, where both were playing tough are now unsalvageable.
This means that at state level both the BJP and Sena, who have been 'ideological' allies for the last 25 years will conduct a very bitter campaign against one another in all 288 seats and enter into a fierce contest. The electoral outcome and the electioneering will both be very interesting, going by the heat and dust it could potentially generate.
The brunt of the divorce, will be first felt by the Shiv Sena if things turn really bitter. They stand to lose control over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is India's richest and most powerful municipal body. The Sena rules the BMC in alliance with BJP and some other smaller groups.
At the national level, Shiv Sena may announce its exit from the NDA.
If so, this will mean that the first ally to exit the ruling coalition within a mere four months of government formation, would ironically be the biggest and oldest. And that too over an issue which had to do more with the ego clashes of 'Gen Next' in both the BJP and Sena over who should occupy the chief ministerial chair.
The move comes at a time when the Sena’s sole representative in the Union Cabinet, Anath Geete, who is the heavy industries and public enterprises minister, is playing an integral part in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand launch of the 'Make in India' programme.
Geete was sitting close to Modi on the dais at the launch function at Vigyan Bhawan in the Capital even as political equations took a new and sour turn. Now Geete may have to go. The only question is who takes the blame, Will it be the BJP or the Sena who announces the divorce? The Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha. In back room negotiations it was reportedly offered more ministerial berths, possibly two in the next cabinet expansion.
The larger impact of the Sena and BJP parting ways will be felt once the results of assembly elections are announced. Leaders of both the parties will be able to see exactly where it is they stand.
Incidentally, by the time the two parties announce a severing of ties and get into a slanging match, Modi would have left for his much hyped US visit. The onus will be on party president Amit Shah to handle the situation. However he has already discussed the matter with Modi in all its possible details, sources said.
The fact that Sena was not willing to climb down from its demand for 151 seats and that party president Uddhav Thackeray was not inclined to negotiate with anyone less than Shah and Modi had made it virtually impossible for the BJP to deal with him. The BJP leaders had also been agitated over the way Uddhav chose to depute his son Aditya to negotiate with senior BJP leaders including a seasoned Om Mathur.
The BJP is blaming Uddhav and his inner circle of Sena leaders for the split.
"Uddhav doesn't have a political mind. He is doing a long term damage to his party. You may see his party break into various factions and a good number of them moving to Raj Thackeray. Alliance with the BJP had made Sena a force to reckon with” a BJP leader said. However it's too early to make such judgments. The impact of the split will only be seen when the results of the assembly are announced.
Does the severing of ties between the Sena and the BJP reflect on him and Amit Shah? The JD(U) was the first alliance partner to go and now the Sena is on the verge of following the suit, unless some unthinkable intervention takes places during the day.
The BJP is completely dismissive of any such suggestion. "How does it reflect on Modi’s leadership? The Prime Minister and his team are making rapid strides", a party leader said. He then blamed Uddhav for everything from writing columns in Saamana at frequent intervals that were critical of top BJP leaders.
In one fortnight he commented twice on Modi, and was critical and taunting. “Is that the way an ally behaves?”, he said.
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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2014 18:19:08 IST