ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP's Assertive Pitch

Panipat of Marathi Asmita?

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to go alone in Maharashtra has opened up the political field and forced the traditional champions of Marathi pride to rethink their political strategy. Will this gambit by Modi’s resurgent BJP work, or will it be defeated by a reassertion of Marathi asmita?

When Raj Thackeray parted ways with Shiv Sena in 2006, the split in the Marathi votes of Mumbai was a foregone conclusion. As both battled for the Marathi vote in Mumbai – with at times Raj’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) securing an upper hand in state assembly elections, and at times the Sena retaining its hold over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- it was never prognosticated that a day will arrive when the BJP would wriggle itself free from playing the subordinate role to both the Senas and stake an independent claim to the political mantle of Maharashtra . While the BJP’s decision to be on its own in the assembly electoral fray has state-wide repercussions, it is expected to have a peculiar fallout in Mumbai too, which has more than 10% of the total assembly seats. It is obvious that, on the one hand, an assertive BJP post its Lok Sabha victory and an evidently divided Marathi vote-bank, on the other, has propelled the state party, with the blessings of its central leadership, to strike when the iron is hot.

Political Disarray

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