Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray appears to be taking a leaf out of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s book: Remain in power but keep criticising your ally to distance yourself from the fallout of governance failure.
During their alliance of 15 years, the NCP leaders always made it a point to criticise the Congress over issues that they thought would strike a chord with the people — from loan waivers to farmers, to banning James Laine’s books, to providing reservation to Marathas and Muslims.
Often, the NCP leadership used such issues to put pressure on the alliance partner while taking credit for the government’s popular decisions. This kept the Congress on tenterhooks.
Many in the BJP are convinced that Thackeray is trying to copy Pawar, especially with his curt editorials and the recent three-part interview in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana. In it, he keeps at the BJP, targeting its ‘failures’ in governance and trying to show that the Sena would not mince words when it came to protecting the interests of its support base.
For the third day in a row on Saturday, Thackeray continued his salvos against the BJP, reiterating his dream to have a Sena-led majority government in the state.
“Can anyone even think of Maharashtra without the Shiv Sena? If Amit Shah can talk of bringing in a majority BJP government, then why should we not dream for a ‘Shiv Shahi sarkar’ (Sena-led government)? Yes, it is my dream, and my resolve,” Thackeray said.
He pointed out how legislators were not happy because they couldn’t get their work done in the government. He touched upon the issue of vegetarianism versus non-vegetarianism in the state and warned the BJP against any move to shift trade and commerce out of Mumbai.
Political circles, however, are not convinced that Thackeray can use Pawar’s tactics effectively.
“I don’t think Uddhav Thackeray like his father has made any political calculations. Politically he cannot match the wit and maturity of Pawar, and to ape his strategy will be a herculean task for him. All he is doing is laying the ground for a break-up with BJP,” said political analyst Surendra Jondhale.