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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Sena not alone at the crossroads

Shailesh Gaikwad, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 19, 2012
First Published: 00:00 IST(19/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:02 IST(19/11/2012)

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's death has left the party at the crossroads, but it is not alone. In a strange coincidence, other prominent parties in Maharashtra are witnessing internal churning at this point.

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Political analysts are expecting Uddhav Thackeray - who moves from number 2 to Sena chief's position - and his team to get complete control of the party.

Sena's perceived vulnerability now has excited long-time ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP, which emerged as main opposition party in Maharashtra after the 2009 elections, will now revise its strategy to occupy an even larger opposition space.

At the same time, the party aims to build a rainbow coalition to snatch power from the Congress-NCP alliance in the 2014 assembly polls.

"We want Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to join forces with us. A grand alliance with the Sena, Republican Party of India and MNS would be a winner," said a top BJP functionary who did not want to be named.

BJP's newfound optimism, however, could lead to a fresh tussle between old guard such as Gopinath Munde and younger leaders being promoted by BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

The Congress is seeing questions being raised at chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's leadership. The party top leadership seems inclined to let Chavan continue as CM. A senior Congress leader who does not agree with the plan said, "We will need to take populist decisions to beat the anti-incumbency against the government, which is in power since 1999. We don't think Chavan can do the needful."

The NCP too is witnessing a silent power struggle between chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit Pawar, who resigned from the deputy CM's post in September over "malicious reports" of an irrigation projects scam.

The NCP has not made it clear who would be party's face in the next assembly elections.


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