Sena's decision to go solo was not surprising

The friction between BJP and Sena has been growing in the last one year.

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena’s announcement about going solo in upcoming elections was expected for some time now, as all has not been well between it and its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sena sources said that after the 2014 polls, the BJP bagged more seats that the Sena in the Assembly and Lok Sabha, which gave the party the upper hand in the alliance.

Though the Shiva Sena and the BJP joined hands at the Centre and in the state to form governments, they never saw eye to eye.

In the state, the Sena conveniently took advantage as a ruling party and also tried to fill vacuum of Opposition parties as Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were on the back foot after the polls. However, it was difficult for the party to deal with the polls with this position.

A senior Sena leader stated that party chief Uddhav Thackeray was very clear from the beginning about his political stand. “He had said the announcement would be made at the right time,” he said.

Mr Thackeray’s announcement was expected during last one year when the friction between the two parties grew on several occasions. The Sena had also given warnings to the BJP to quit the alliance.

However, BJP leaders said that the Sena’s negotiating power is weak given the former’s higher success rate in elections since 2014. “The BJP has won every poll from the last Lok Sabha. The party has also seen a good response in rural areas. Our seats have increased in all the polls,” a BJP leader said, hinting that sharing of seats would have been tough if the Sena had decided to remain in the alliance. This was also one of the reasons the two broke up before the municipal polls.

Mr Thackeray justified going solo for the polls, which made his workers and party leaders happy. However, he did not say for how long his party would remain in power with the BJP.

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