Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Raj Thackeray causes the Shiv Sena to split

Not in the way that you would think, where people would leave the Shiv Sena of Bal and Uddhav Thackeray and join Raj's Nav Nirman Movement, but another byproduct of the lack of protest by the Shiv Sena against the anti-North Indian movement of Raj. In fact, Uddhav almost seemed to be trying to coopt the movement, with statements that, while not explicitly threatening North Indians, saying the message with less violence. However, the talk of jobs for native Marathis first and the lack of any denunciation of Raj's message sent a signal to the North Indians - the Shiv Sena essentially will not hesitate to adopt Raj's message if it seems to be generating popular acclaim.
From time to time, you would get a reminder that the Shiv Sena existed outside Maharashtra, particularly when there would be a demonstration by the Delhi branch against some statement by other parties, or when a Valentine's day celebration needed to be broken up violently. But now it seems that the leaders of these North Indian branches are finding the environment a bit hard to handle.

The Shiv Sena on Wednesday split, with the outfit's North Indian leaders resigning en-masse protesting its "outrageous conduct" towards non-Marathis in Maharashtra and announcing they would form a separate party.
"Shiv Sena is no different from Khalistan and Jammu and Kashmir militant groups which are trying to create a rift between people along regional lines. The main aim of these forces is to split our country," Shiv Sena's North India chief Jai Bhagwan Goyal told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Seems like finally the Shiv Sena had to make a compromise. It's base is in Maharashtra, and it cannot allow an expelled member like Raj try and take away its thunder, and if that means that its North Indian faction splits, so be it. However, it seems like the Shiv Sena is headed towards overall failure - it was the more extremist among the political parties, but now Raj is threatening to take that position. The NCP of Sharad Pawar has bona fide Marathi leaders and has a centrist position that attracts voters, leaving the Shiv Sena with a diminishing base.
The other party that is badly hit of course is the Congress since they tried to play upto Raj to diminish the Shiv Sena, but the lack of action against Raj by the Congress leadership will cause a backlash against the Congress. Mere words will not be enough.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:20 AM