Modi wave helps Shiv Sena steady ship, increase seats, votes

For now, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has thwarted attacks from both Congress-NCP and cousin Rajís MNS

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | May 16, 2014



With the ruling Congress-NCP completely decimated, and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in Maharashtra,

The Narendra Modi may have given a fresh lease of life to BJPís longtime partner in the state, the Shiv Sena, for more reasons than one. While the partners are proving to be runaway winners, projected to win 41 out of 48 seats in Maharashtra, the Shiv Serna finally seems to have batted out the rough patch it was in ever since Raj Thackeray broke ranks and formed his own outfit Ė the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The nationwide Modi sweep has meant complete decimation for the ruling Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra with Congress projected to win only 2 seats and the NCP 4. The two parties had won 17 and 8 seats, respectively in Maharashtra in the 2009 elections.

The Swabhimani Paksha was leading in 1 seat when this report was written.

The changed political situation will now provide a much-needed lifeline to the Shiv Sena at the state level. The has been going through internal upheavals after Raj Thackerayís split and, more seriously, after party supremo Bal Thackerayís death. There was leadership crisis, with some questioning the leadership ability and caliber of Thackerayís son Uddhav, and reports of dissatisfaction within party ranks.

While the senior Thackeray wanted the warring cousins to come together and take the Sena to its glory of yore, Uddhav must be breathing a lot easy now that the Sena has crossed the MNS hurdle in this election. While Raj Thackeray had made his support to Modi clear, he had fielded candidates in seats from which the Sena was contesting. With the core votebank and appeal of the two parties being the same, many had expected the MNS to play a spoiler in these seats, and thereby gifting them to the Congress-NCP combine.

But not only has that not happened, the Sena has managed to increase its vote share: from 1.55 percent in 2009 (all-India) to 1.9 percent this time. The Senaís vote share in Maharashtra is over 21 percent, while that of MNS is restricted to 1.5 percent.

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