On Rumours Of Going Back To The NDA, Team Uddhav Says...

The undivided Shiv Sena had left the NDA in 2019, after the Maharashtra assembly elections.

New Delhi:

Rubbishing rumours, the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena has said that it is going to remain with the INDIA alliance and will not switch back to the NDA. Having won nine seats, the Shiv Sena (UBT) has emerged as the second-largest party in Maharashtra – tied with the BJP – and has also got a huge morale boost because the Eknath Shinde faction of the party has managed to garner only seven.

In a post on X on Thursday, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took a dig at journalists who allegedly sided with the BJP and said they had predicted that the BJP would come back with a big majority once the results of the Lok Sabha elections are out. Since that didn’t happen, Ms Charturvedi said, they are now spreading rumours of her party leaving the INDIA alliance and returning to the NDA.

Referring to a popular meme, she posted, “Moye Moye. Ye na hoye (this won’t happen). You can roye roye (you can cry).” 

Twists And Turns

During the 2019 general elections, the BJP and the undivided Shiv Sena had contested together and won 41 Lok Sabha seats between them, with the BJP getting 23 and Uddhav Thackeray’s party 18. The Shiv Sena, which is one of the BJP’s oldest allies, also contested the Assembly elections in Maharashtra in an alliance with it later that year, but fell out and left the NDA over disagreements regarding the chief minister’s post.

Uddhav Thackeray was then sworn in as the chief minister as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadicoalition with the NCP and the Shiv Sena.

Things began to change drastically three years later, when Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde –  alleged to have been egged on by the BJP – split the party and went back to the NDA, claiming that Mr Thackeray had gone against the mandate given to the alliance in 2019. With his government’s majority gone, Mr Thackeray stepped down and Mr Shinde took oath as chief minister, with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. 

Sharad Pawar’s NCP was split a year later and Mr Shinde got his second deputy chief minister in Ajit Pawar. 

Plot Changes Again

The 2024 Lok Sabha election was, thus, one of the most unusual in Maharashtra’s history, with two Shiv Senas and two NCPs – under very similar but different names – pitted against each other. The Shinde and Ajit Pawar factions were supported by the BJP while the Thackeray and Sharad Pawar groups were in an alliance with the Congress.

The fact that the Shinde and Ajit Pawar groups were recognised as the “real” parties and allotted the party symbols came as another blow to the Thackeray and Sharad Pawar factions, for whom the Lok Sabha elections became a matter of prestige as well as survival.

In the lead-up to the elections, the Sena-BJP-NCP alliance, known as the Mahayuti, exuded confidence that it would manage to win most seats. The BJP, however, ended up being reduced to nine from 23, while Team Shinde got seven and Ajit Pawar’s NCP only one.

On the other hand, the Congress-Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)-NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) coalition, won 30 of the state’s 48 constituencies. The Congress emerged as the largest party, winning 13, while Team Uddhav got nine and Sharad Pawar’s party won eight.