The BJP-led NDA breathed a sigh of relief as support from the Left and the Samajwadi Party for its nationwide bandh yesterday ensured its success in the northern and eastern parts of the country, but there was no getting away from the fact that the stir against fuel price rise and FDI in retail was a tame affair in the state. The Shiv Sena, the oldest ally of the BJP in the state, decided to stay away from the bandh and the result was there for all to see.
Despite heading governments at the Centre and occupying the position of the principal opposition party of the nation over the years, the BJP has always been kept on tenterhooks by the Shiv Sena in the state.
In the past, the Shiv Sena has put the BJP in a fix with decisions like backing Congress nominees as presidential candidates.
If even a bandh to protest against the fuel price hike and FDI in retail evoked little response in the city, the nerve centre of commercial activities in the country, it speaks volumes about the power equations in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
Also, the decision of the BJP Pune city unit to stay away from implementing the party decision was another shocker.
The Shiv Sena and the MNS kept away from the bandh citing the ongoing Ganpati festival, and the same reason was given by the Pune BJP unit.
The BJP Pune unit’s decision must have been rather painful for Gopinath Munde, who led the bandh in the state, as he has all along vehemently opposed Vikas Mathkari’s appointment as the head of the party unit in Pune.
For both BJP and Munde, the developments are a sign of big worries in the future, especially as the NDA prepares for the next general election. The fragmented Opposition will certainly boost the morale of the Congress.