Maharashtra bypolls: First major test for Uddhav-led MVA, Shinde-BJP combine amid the ongoing tussle : The Tribune India

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Maharashtra bypolls: First major test for Uddhav-led MVA, Shinde-BJP combine amid the ongoing tussle

The February 26 Pune Assembly bypolls are being seen as the first indicator of which way the political winds are blowing in state

Maharashtra bypolls: First major test for Uddhav-led MVA, Shinde-BJP combine amid the ongoing tussle

Uddhav Thacheray and (right) Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. File Photos



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, February 21

In a show of strength, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde today announced a national executive meeting—the first party meeting chaired by him since the vertical split in the Shiv Sena last year.

Last week, the Election Commission recognised his faction—the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS)—as the “real Shiv Sena”, allocating to it the iconic ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol.

After being stripped of the party name and the symbol,Uddhav Thackerayripped into Shinde, the BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah. He also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi while calling for the dissolution of the EC alleging that “everything had been stolen” from him under a “pre-planned conspiracy”.

Close aide Sanjay Raut alleged that Rs 2,000 crore exchanged hands for the transfer of the symbol. Today he urged the Supreme Court to stay the EC order to recognise the Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena.

What future holds in store for Uddhav Thackeray

It goes without saying that the months in the run-up to the general elections next year are crucial for Uddhav Thackeray and his political future as the true heir of Bal Thackeray—the founder of “real Shiv Sena”.

With BJP backing the Shinde faction, Uddhav and son Aaditya will have to work double hard to keep alive their political relevance in the Maharashtra politics while upholding the morale of supporters.

Shiv Sena has a large network of camps across the state, which Thackeray now plans to renew and strengthen with a “Shiv Shakti Abhiyan.”

Balasaheb legacy, Sena property, cadres

While the Shinde faction has claimed party offices in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha, they have decided to not touch the Shiv Sena Bhavan and party funds as per reports.

According to the Shinde faction, “It is the name and symbol of the party which is important.Shiv Sena Bhavan is a temple for us, though some people think it is like property. We are going to take Balasaheb Thackeray's thoughts forward”.

CM Shinde too added thathe would not be claiming the party property as they are the real “heirs of Balasaheb Thackeray's ideology and have no temptations.”

“I have no greed for property or funds of the Shiv Sena. I am a person who has always given something to others. Those who were tempted by property and wealth took the wrong step in 2019,” he was quoted as saying—an obvious reference to Uddhav Thackeray breaking alliance with the BJP after the last Assembly elections.

Though the Shinde side has also decided to avoid direct conflict amongst Shiv Sainiks, it will issue a whip in the upcoming assembly session for all 56 Sena MLAs, including those from the Uddhav Thackeray faction.Those who do not follow the whip will be disqualified, according to reports.

High-stake Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections expected anytime between June/July and October.

The BMC tenure is of five years and the next elections were supposed to be held around late 2022. While many parties have ruled Maharashtra, the BMC has been the bastion of the Shiv Sena. Now that Shiv Sena is split, it will be interesting to see which side gets hold of the cash-rich BMC.

The BJP too has set a target of winning 150 out of 227 seats. Sources say the saffron party will encourage the Uddhav Thackeray led faction workers to join the BJP.

The BMC is the richest corporation in the country with an annual budget more than that of many small states.

Assembly by-elections—the first test

However, the by-elections to the Kasba Peth and Chinchwad assembly constituencies in Pune on February 26 will be the first real test of strength for all sides after the Uddhav-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime was toppled and the Eknath Shinde-led BSS-BJP dispensation took charge in June 2022.

Notably, the BJP did not put up a candidate against the Uddhav side in the Andheri (East) bypolls in Mumbai—a reason why the elections are being seen as the first indicator of which way the political winds are blowing in Maharashtra.

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#BJP #BMC #Eknath Shinde #Maharashtra #Mumbai #shiv sena


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