Sena-BJP, Congress-NCP: How the alliances fell apart

mid-day gives you a blow-by-blow account of how the contentious issue of seat sharing for the upcoming assembly polls drove a wedge into the two major alliances, ultimately causing their demise

BJP-Shiv Sena
Key players:

>> BJP: Devendra Fadnavis (state BJP chief), Vinod Tawde (leader of opposition), Om Prakash Mathur (state in-charge for assembly polls), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (state in-charge for Maharashtra)

Illustration/Amit Bandre
Illustration/Amit Bandre

>> Shiv Sena: Uddhav Thackeray (Sena chief), Sanjay Raut (Rajya Sabha MP), Diwakar Raote (MLC), Subhash Desai (MLA), Anil Desai (Rajya Sabha MP), Vinayak Raut (Lok Sabha MP)

July 28: The first meeting of the Mahayuti, the grand alliance, takes place at a hotel in Bandra-Kurla Complex. Meeting also includes smaller partners — RPI (Athawale), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram

End of August: A lull follows and smaller parties start getting restless. Big brothers BJP and Sena decide to continue talks with junior partners and review list of constituencies they are demanding.

First week of September: Accordingly, MLC Diwakar Raote and MP Sanjay Raut from the Sena and BJP state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis and leader of opposition Vinod Tawde hold discussions separately with the smaller parties.

September 4: BJP party boss Amit Shah visits Matoshree, the Thackeray residence. Shah is said to have come to Mumbai for Ganpati darshan and no political talks take place.

September 7: Uddhav Thackeray denies reports that said he didn’t want to be the CM; Sena leaders jubilant over his words.

As the alliance fell apart around them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, wife Rashmi and son Aaditya visited the Devi Bhavani  temple in Tuljapur to offer prayers yesterday. Pic/Rajesh Waradkar
As the alliance fell apart around them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, wife Rashmi and son Aaditya visited the Devi Bhavani  temple in Tuljapur to offer prayers yesterday. Pic/Rajesh Waradkar

September 12: Election Commission announces poll programme and talks gain momentum. Sena MLA Subhash Desai, Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai, Lok Sabha MP Vinayak Raut, MLC Diwakar Raote join talks. From the BJP, senior leader Om Prakash Mathur joins as party observer.

September 13: Meetings are held to discuss seat sharing. Sena refuses to budge on its stand of not contesting less than 150 seats and giving more than 119 to BJP. State in-charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy makes intermittent appearances.

September 14: Uddhav Thackeray makes statements on who would lead the state, denies that it was the Modi wave that helped win the state polls, says coalition partners also deserve credit. Angry BJP stops talks with Sena.

September 16: Talks resume between the two parties, but no progress is made.

September 17 and 18: BJP party chief Amit Shah makes visits to the state, but stalemate continues.

September 20: Uddhav Thackeray sends Subhash Desai, son Aaditya Thackeray to meet Om Prakash Mathur. It sends a wrong message to the BJP, which disapproves.

September 21: Thackeray senior, speaking to party workers in Rang Sharda, reminds BJP that Sena supported it during Godhra, Babri Masjid, and issues veiled warnings and a new proposal. This fails to cut much ice, and hurts the BJP further. In Delhi, Eknath Khadse addresses press conference, and says such talks cannot be held through media. He also states that in an alliance, no proposal is final.

September 23: Sena leaders Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai, Subhash Desai, and Milind Narvekar, personal aide to Uddhav Thackeray, meet BJP leaders at the latter’s office in Dadar (East).

September 25: Alliance ends.

Congress-NCP
Key players:

>> Congress: A K Antony (senior leader), Ahmed Patel (political secretary to Sonia Gandhi), Prithviraj Chavan (Chief Minister), Manikrao Thakre (MPCC chief), Narayan Rane

>> NCP: Sharad Pawar (party chief), Ajit Pawar (deputy CM), Chhagan Bhujbal (PWD minister), R R Patil (home minister), Sunil Tatkare (state unit chief), Praful Patel (senior leader)

August 20: The first meeting starts between the two parties. Congress leader A K Antony, Ahmad Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar attend meeting. NCP demands equal seat share.

September 23: More than a month later, the two parties meet again. Senior NCP leader Praful Patel, NCP state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal and home minister R R Patil attend from the NCP. From the Congress, the meeting is attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre, senior ministers Narayan Rane and Harshwardhan Patil and ex-CM Ashok Chavan.

September 25: Alliance ends.

Timeline

>> 1989: The year the Shiv Sena-BJP tied up. Pramod Mahajan and Bal Thackeray were instrumental in this.
>> 1990: The SS-BJP combine won 94 seats – 52 for the Sena and 42 for the BJP in the assembly elections.
>> 1995: The SS-BJP combine won the Maharashtra state elections.
>> 1999: In the assembly elections, the SS-BJP alliance won 125 seats.
>> 2004: The alliance won 116 seats in the assembly elections.
>> 2009: The alliance retained 90 assembly seats.
>> 2011: The existing Sena-BJP alliance roped in RPI (A) and converted the Yuti into Mahayuti. Uddhav Thackeray, Gopinath Munde and Ramdas Athawale were instrumental.
>> 2014: The Mahayuti also got three other parties Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram
>> 2014: The BJP-Sena led Mahayuti won 42 seats out of total 48 in the Lok Sabha elections.
>> 25 September, 2014: The BJP announced it was splitting up the alliance.

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