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Home > News > PTI

Was the Chimur row a BJP ploy?

October 08, 2006 16:13 IST

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The row between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena over Chimur seat in the Assembly by-election in Maharashtra appeared to be a ploy of the BJP to get even with its 'big brother' ally in the state to whom it had always played the second fiddle.

A single Assembly seat could not be important, but the BJP wanted to send across a message that it was no longer a
pushover and needed to be treated as an equal partner by an ageing 'tiger' -- Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, party sources said.

They acknowledge that the whole episode over a single seat in the Vidarbha region was a dress rehearsal to convey that it was a force to reckon with in the 'changed scene' after the defeat of Sena-led alliance in the last general elections.

The BJP's attempt was to show that it would be a different ballgame altogether in the civic and zilla parishad polls scheduled in the next few months, which were no less than a mini-general election in the state, sources said.

The Chimur controversy was the first major crisis that hit the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the oldest ideological partnership in the saffron fold, after the death of senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, the architect of the tie-up, which brought the OBCs together for a share in the political pie in the Maratha-dominated state.

In fact, state BJP leaders said Mahajan himself had, some time before his death, told them that it was time for seeking a larger share in the alliance as the Shiv Sena suffered badly after the parting of ways by Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray, who formed a new party.

This was for the first time that the BJP played it cool after a crisis broke out within the alliance and did not show any hurry to rush to Matoshree, Bal Thackeray's residence.

In fact, the Shiv Sena and the BJP had fought the last elections to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation separately, but it was a different time.

This time, when the civic polls in Mumbai are just round the corner, the Shiv Sena would ill-afford any rupture in the partnership as the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have started efforts to put up a joint fight, the sources said.

The 2004 Lok Sabha polls had witnessed the rout of the saffron alliance, which could bag only a single seat in the megapolis.

Besides, the assembly elections held later saw a shock defeat of the alliance as the Congress and the NCP got their act together to substantially wipe out anti-incumbency to emerge winner.

In fact, a section of the BJP was not happy with the strategy projecting Uddhav Thackeray as the chief ministerial candidate, which worked to the disadvantaged of the saffron brotherhood, alliance sources said.

This section was also cut up with the style of functioning of Uddhav Thackeray who was made executive president by the Sena chief some time back.

As the curtain has been drawn on the crisis, the atmosphere in the alliance is of 'all's well that ends well'. In fact, supporters of BJP chief Rajnath Singh are crediting him with 'successful crisis management' of the issue.

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