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JD(U) in NDA could lessen Shiv Sena’s importance at Centre

Rumours are doing rounds that the JDU is likely to be given more than a berth in the Modi’s cabinet next month; Shiv Sena has just one

mumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 22:08 IST
Manasi Phadke
Manasi Phadke
Hindustan times
Mumbai,Shiv Sena,JD(U)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP )

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) newly-forged alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) may worsen the already strained ties between the BJP and the Shiv Sena.

Although the Sena has been one of the oldest allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the JD(U)’s entry into the fold can reduce Sena’s importance at the Centre.

Political analyst Deepak Pawar said, “In the early days of the government, Nitish Kumar was one of the strongest critics of the prime minister. With this alliance, the BJP has almost wiped out any criticism emanating from the Opposition. The only censures the party now has to tackle is from within the government — the Shiv Sena.”

He added that the BJP-JD(U) alliance gives the former an edge over its detractors, especially the Sena which has been vociferous in condemning the government at the state and the Centre.

Rumours are doing rounds that the JD(U) is likely to be given more than a berth in the Modi’s cabinet next month. The move could annoy the Sena, which has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and three in the Rajya Sabha. The JDU has two Lok Sabha and 10 Rajya Sabha MPs. Though the Sena was expecting at least two ministerial berths after the NDA won the 2014 Lok Sabha election, it got only one seat.

Ever since it was reduced to the role of playing second fiddle to the BJP on its home turf, Maharashtra, the Sena has behaved more like an opposition party. It slammed the BJP for being power-hungry and stamping its authority in the country without any principles or ideology. It even accused the BJP of marginalising regional political outfits.

On one hand, the Sena welcomed Nitish Kumar into the NDA fold, on the other, it slammed him for his U-turn and criticised the BJP for smothering the Opposition.

In its party’s mouthpiece, Saamana, the Sena questioned whether Kumar joining the NDA would wipe off all the criticism that he had heaped on Modi about not being secular and furthering the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology.

“Politics is no longer about thoughts and ideology. Despite not having a majority, the BJP formed a government in states like Goa and Manipur. Would this have been possible without a huge mandate at the Centre? The BJP must introspect,” reads the editorial.

The party said that the Opposition is the country’s and democracy’s real soul. “Nitish Kumar was the face for the prime ministerial seat from this united opposition. Modi and Amit Shah snatched away this face,” the Sena said.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 22:08 IST