A setback to Thackeray cousins

October 20, 2014 02:28 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:58 am IST - MUMBAI

The Assembly election verdict is a major setback to the Shiv Sena and a disaster for its splinter group, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who paved the way for the end of his party’s 25-year-old alliance with the BJP, now faces the prospect of playing second fiddle to the BJP, which for the first time fought an election on its own in the State.

Thanks to a hung Assembly, with the BJP short of 23 seats for a simple majority, the Thackeray scion could hope to do business with the BJP on honourable terms.

However, his cousin Raj Thackeray would have a serious problem in keeping his rank and file together. While the Shiv Sena won a respectable number of seats, the MNS suffered a major blow as it could win only one seat. The party which won 13 seats in the 2009 Assembly elections was contesting 219 seats this time. Coming close on the heels of the Lok Sabha debacle when his party was out for a duck, the Assembly results could even raise questions about the very existence of the outfit.

The ‘Marathi pride’ slogan invoked by the Sena during the election campaign seems to have backfired with the BJP bagging 15 seats out of the 36 in Mumbai. The Sena could win only 14 seats. In 2009, the BJP and the Sena won five and four seats, respectively.

Improving on its 2009 tally of 44, the Sena has won 63 seats and will be the second largest party in the Assembly. The Sena won only 15 of 46 seats in its stronghold of Marathwada. Its opposition to statehood for Vidarbha seem to have cost the Sena as it could win only four of 62 seats in that region. The party, however, managed to reclaim its lost ground in the Konkan-Thane region by winning 14 of 32.

At a news conference at his residence Matoshree on Sunday evening, a sombre Sena chief said the BJP had not yet sought the party’s support. “We can reply only if they [BJP] seek our support. If they want to go with the NCP, they are free to do so,” he said.

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