Events that transpired in Bihar are likely to have a bearing on politics in Maharashtra where the Eknath Shinde government will conduct the first session of the state legislature after coming to power over a month ago. The Shiv Sena faction loyal to former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was unseated from power by a mutiny of a majority of its rebel MLAs who joined hands with the BJP, is all geared up to target the BJP over a host of issues.
Topping their agenda is a remark made by Bihar BJP MP and former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi amid the political upheaval in Bihar last week. Countering allegations that the BJP was trying to divide the JD(U) in Bihar, the BJP MP said that the party has never hurt any of its allies.
“They are saying that attempts were being made to break JD(U), an example of Shiv Sena is being given. Shiv Sena was not our ally, it was the ruling party there. You (JDU) were our ally. We have never broken any of our allies,” Modi said.
The Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena sees this remark as a tacit admission of guilt by a senior BJP leader and is set to corner the incumbent government on the issue of engineering defections to topple the Maharashtra government and “running the show” from behind the scenes.
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As per reports, the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena will turn up the heat on the BJP, which is part of the incumbent government, for “bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government” and keeping important portfolios with itself.
In June this year, Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena led a successful rebellion of around 40 MLAs who walked out of the MVA government, resulting in its collapse. The rebellion provided the BJP room to return to power by tying up with the rebel faction of the party and forming a government. Shinde was eventually appointed the Chief Minister while Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP took oath as his deputy.
Ever since the rebel Shiv Sena MPs went incommunicado and camped in Guwahati, the capital city of BJP-ruled Assam which is governed by CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, saffron party leaders have maintained they have had no role to play in the rebellion led by Shinde. The BJP has, instead, held “ideological differences” within the party as the reason behind the Shiv Sena split.