In Milind Deora, Shinde Sena gets a much needed ‘Delhi face’

The BJP anticipates that many more such crossovers were likely once seat-sharing talks in the INDIA bloc parties got seriously underway

January 14, 2024 07:25 pm | Updated 09:51 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde welcomes former Congress leader Milind Deora who joined Shiv Sena (Shinde faction), in Mumbai, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde welcomes former Congress leader Milind Deora who joined Shiv Sena (Shinde faction), in Mumbai, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The BJP views former Union Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Milind Deora, joining the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena as a move that would provide Mr. Shinde’s faction a “Delhi face”, lacking currently, and that many more such crossovers were likely once seat-sharing talks in the INDIA bloc parties got seriously underway.

“The Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) lacks a face in national politics, in Delhi. Milind Deora, if not the Lok Sabha ticket, will come to Delhi via the Rajya Sabha for sure,” a senior BJP leader said.

After the split in the Shiv Sena, the BJP had felt that while Mr. Shinde won all the legal and numbers-based battles in the legislature, the reasons for the split were not articulated in a way that would evoke sympathy among voters. “Last year itself there had been a request from the State unit of the BJP to have a double ticket election in the State — that is, Lok Sabha and Assembly polls (which are due later in 2024) at the same time, since there would be the preponderance of the Modi factor over that period,” the source said. Some setbacks in bypolls also encouraged the view that the Shinde faction needed to get as much space in the media narrative. “The Uddhav Thackeray faction gets a lot of airplay thanks to people like (Rajya Sabha MP) Sanjay Rout. The Eknath Shinde set of MPs are least interested in Delhi politics,” the source added.

Mr. Deora, while resigning from the primary membership of the Congress, had said that he was ending a 55-year-old association with the party. Sources had said that he was unhappy with the fact that the Mumbai South seat, which he represented in 2004 and 2009, and currently being held by Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray-UBT) MP Arvind Sawant may go to that party itself in the seat-sharing arrangement being worked out by the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners of the Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar).

The BJP anticipates that as seat-sharing talks progress among various constituents of the INDIA bloc of parties, new joining into BJP and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners will be more common.

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