Shiv Sena’s quest for power and Chautala’s safe move

Coalition Governments have come to the fore in Maharashtra and Haryana. Though the ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single largest party in both the elections, contrasting scenes are visible in both the states.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 105 seats while the Shiv Sena won 56 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

However, the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are aiming to prevent the formation by aligning with independent candidates. The INC and NCP got 44 and 54 seats respectively.

All the parties are indulging in horse trading in their hunger for power. Though the BJP-Shiv Sena completed their term successfully from 2014 to 2019, the Shiv Sena has imposed tougher conditions on the BJP this time.

Unlike 2014, where Shiv Sena did not seek the BJP right after the results, this time Uddhav Thackeray has gone all out with his party’s demands. He has proposed for a “50 50 formula” where the power will be divided into two-and-half years each.

He has also proposed his 29-year-old heir Aaditya Thackeray as the Chief Minister. However, since Aaditya is inexperienced, the BJP maybe wary of Shiv Sena’s demands. Hence, senior Thackeray has asked for a “written assurance” from the BJP for equal share of power.

In an editorial published by Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna, Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, said that the “remote control for Maharashtra was clearly in their party chief, Uddhav Thackeray.” However, the BJP has neither accepted nor denied the demands.

The other contesters, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress have faced the same fate as in 2014. The NCP chief Sharad Pawar has ruled out all possibilities of an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the coalition between three non-BJP parties seem unlikely.

The non-BJP allies have failed disastrously in contemporary politics. The Congress-JDS coalition led by H.D Kumaraswamy in Karnataka fell after 15 MLAs quit. The 14-month old government was dissolved and the BJP’s B.S Yeddiyurappa was sworn in as the new Chief Minister.

Other Side

Up north, in Haryana, a tightly contested election culminated in yet another victory for the BJP after Dushyant Chautala led Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) paved way for Shah’s expansive politics. Manohar Lal Khattar took oath as the Chief Minister for the second term. Chautala became the deputy CM.

However, more than the BJP, Chautala benefited from the deal after his party’s current internal crisis. With only 10 MLAs, the party’s stand in Opposition would have been irrelevant. The BJP would have formed government anyway with the help of seven Independent seats.

Chautala’s move has faced criticism from the Jat community for alleged “betrayal,” BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur even quit the party over the issue of alliance with the BJP. However, Chautala’s position spur out of power insecurity, his father’s incarceration and several cases of “vendetta politics” in the country has forced the leader to opt the safest position. The benefits of power were instantly evident when his father was granted a furlough for two weeks from Tihar Jail.

By Sameer Kulkarni and Rahul Manoj