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The gap between the BJP and the Shiv Sena




At one time it seemed that the BJP and the Shiv Sena were natural allies in Maharashtra. Both have similar ideologies, both believe in appealing to Hindu thoughts and promote Hindu revivalism. And further, in the divided politics of Maharashtra, where there are 4 main parties (the Shiv Sena, Congress, BJP, and NCP), it always made sense to have an ally to prevent the division of votes. Further, the 2 parties have strong support bases in different sections of the state, and by themselves would always lag behind the other party alliance.
However, in the last few weeks, there seems to be a sense of division between the parties, with the leaders of both parties willing to criticize the other party. Even in the past, the parties have had some sense of friction, especially in the Presidential elections when a Maratha lady was in the fray, and also when the Shiv Sena became much more energetic in its extremism, especially in earlier times when the Shiv Sena spoke against North Indians (not the same extent though to which Raj Thackeray spoke out against the taking of jobs by North Indian), but they have always agreed to disagree.


However, in recent times, the campaign by the Shiv Sena (goaded by the extremism taken by Raj, and the need to ensure that the MNS does not take all the support from the Maharashtra for Marathis campaign), has led to a strong resistance from the RSS and the BJP. The RSS (which also drives the opinions of the BJP) always believes in a concept of an India where any Indian can travel from one location to another, and cannot accept the concept of a part of the country being only for the local people. And this is where the tension has started increasing. The RSS chief made a statement where he spoke against the philosophy expounded by the Shiv Sena and the Shiv Sena responded in kind by making the same statement that Maharashtra is first and foremost for the Marathi Manoos. And so it stands; both parties realize that they will suffer if they try to be independent, and they are trying to not take things to a breaking point while stating their positions.




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