Shiv Sena is a prominent political party in India, with a strong base in the state of Maharashtra. Founded in 1966 by Balasaheb Thackeray, Shiv Sena began as a regionalist movement aimed at advancing the interests of the Marathi-speaking people in Mumbai. Over the years, the party has grown into a formidable political force that has made its mark on the national political scene.
Balasaheb Thackeray, a cartoonist by profession, founded Shiv Sena in 1966 with the aim of creating a political organization that would defend the rights of the Marathi-speaking people in Mumbai. At the time, Mumbai (then Bombay) was part of the state of Maharashtra, which had been created in 1960 to give a separate identity to Marathi-speaking people in the region.
Thackeray, who was also a prominent journalist, used his newspaper, Marmik, to promote Shiv Sena’s ideology and spread its message. The party’s early years were marked by a focus on issues like unemployment, housing, and the protection of Marathi culture.
Rise to Power
Shiv Sena’s big breakthrough came in the 1980s, when it began to attract a wider following among the working-class population of Mumbai. The party’s success was fueled by a strong anti-immigrant sentiment that was prevalent in the city at the time. Shiv Sena capitalized on this sentiment by portraying itself as a defender of Marathi culture against the perceived threat posed by outsiders.
The party’s rise to power was cemented in the 1990s, when it formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a right-wing political party with a strong Hindu nationalist agenda. The alliance proved to be a winning combination, with Shiv Sena providing the regional base and the BJP providing the national platform.
Shiv Sena Today
Today, Shiv Sena is one of the largest political parties in Maharashtra, with a strong presence in Mumbai and other major cities in the state. The party has been in power in Maharashtra on several occasions, both on its own and in alliance with the BJP.
In recent years, Shiv Sena has been in the news for its changing political alliances. In 2019, the party broke its long-standing alliance with the BJP and formed a coalition government with the Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra. The move was seen as a major shift in Shiv Sena’s political strategy and a sign of the changing political landscape in India.
Ideology and Political Positions of Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena is a right-wing regionalist political party in India, with a strong base in the state of Maharashtra. The party’s ideology is centered around the promotion of Marathi culture and the advancement of the interests of the Marathi-speaking people in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.
Regionalism is a core tenet of Shiv Sena’s ideology. The party believes that Maharashtra and its people have been neglected and discriminated against by the Indian government and the dominant culture of North India. Shiv Sena seeks to rectify this by advocating for greater autonomy and power for Maharashtra and its people.
Shiv Sena is also a strong advocate of Hindutva, a term that refers to a set of right-wing Hindu nationalist beliefs. The party’s founder, Balasaheb Thackeray, was a vocal supporter of Hindutva and saw it as a way to unite the Hindu community against perceived threats from other religious groups.
Shiv Sena’s early success was fueled by a strong anti-immigrant sentiment that was prevalent in Mumbai in the 1980s. The party portrayed itself as a defender of Marathi culture against the perceived threat posed by outsiders, particularly immigrants from North India and Bangladesh.
Shiv Sena is known for its conservative social views. The party has opposed many progressive social reforms, such as the legalization of same-sex relationships and the reform of India’s strict labor laws. Shiv Sena also advocates for the protection of Hindu traditions and customs.
Shiv Sena has a history of advocating for economic populism, particularly in its early years. The party focused on issues like unemployment, housing, and the protection of workers’ rights. However, in recent years, Shiv Sena has shifted towards a more pro-business and pro-privatization stance.
Shiv Sena’s Role in Maharashtra Politics
Shiv Sena has been a major player in the politics of Maharashtra since its founding in 1966. The party’s strong regionalist and nationalist ideology has helped it to establish a significant presence in the state, particularly in Mumbai and the surrounding areas.
Formation of Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray, a former cartoonist, in response to what he saw as the neglect of the Marathi-speaking people in Mumbai by the Indian government and the city’s dominant Gujarati and North Indian communities. Thackeray believed that the Marathi-speaking people needed a political voice to protect their interests and promote their culture.
Shiv Sena enjoyed early success in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in Mumbai. The party’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric appealed to many Marathi-speaking residents of the city who felt threatened by the presence of outsiders. Shiv Sena’s success in Mumbai helped it to establish a strong base of support in the rest of Maharashtra.
Alliances and Conflicts
Over the years, Shiv Sena has formed alliances and conflicts with various political parties in Maharashtra. In the 1990s, the party formed a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and held power in Maharashtra for several years. However, the alliance between the two parties eventually broke down, and Shiv Sena has since formed alliances with other parties in the state.
In recent years, Shiv Sena has undergone significant changes. In 2019, the party formed a coalition government with the Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, two parties with which it had traditionally been at odds. Shiv Sena’s decision to ally with these parties was seen as a response to the growing influence of the BJP in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena’s National Politics
Shiv Sena, a regional party with a strong presence in Maharashtra, has also made forays into national politics. The party has sought to expand its influence beyond Maharashtra and establish itself as a major player in national politics.
Alliance with BJP
Shiv Sena formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 1990s and became a key partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that was formed in 1998. The alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP helped the party to gain a foothold in national politics and increase its influence outside of Maharashtra.
However, the alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP eventually soured, and the two parties parted ways in 2019 over differences regarding the distribution of ministerial portfolios in Maharashtra. This led to Shiv Sena forming a coalition government with the Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Shiv Sena’s entry into national politics has also been accompanied by an ideological shift. While the party’s ideology has traditionally been centered around regionalism and Hindutva, it has moved towards a more centrist position in recent years.
Shiv Sena has also been critical of some of the policies of the BJP-led government at the national level. In particular, the party has been critical of the government’s handling of issues like farmer protests, unemployment, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Impact on National Politics
Shiv Sena’s presence in national politics has had a mixed impact. While the party has been able to increase its influence outside of Maharashtra, its shifting ideological positions and shifting alliances have also led to criticism from some quarters.
Shiv Sena’s decision to form a coalition government with the Congress and the NCP was seen as a significant departure from its traditional ideology, which emphasized regionalism and Hindutva. However, the move was also seen as a pragmatic response to the growing influence of the BJP in Maharashtra.
Criticisms and Controversies of Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena, like many political parties, has faced its share of criticisms and controversies over the years. Some of the party’s actions and statements have been seen as inflammatory and divisive, and have led to criticism from other political parties and civil society groups.
Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Muslim Rhetoric
One of the major criticisms of Shiv Sena has been its use of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric. The party has been accused of stoking communal tensions and inciting violence against Muslims and immigrants, particularly in Mumbai.
In 1992, Shiv Sena was accused of playing a role in the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, which led to widespread communal violence in Mumbai and other parts of India.
Shiv Sena has also been criticized for its use of violent tactics to achieve its political goals. The party has been accused of using its street muscle to intimidate opponents, and has been implicated in a number of violent incidents over the years.
In 2002, Shiv Sena activists were accused of attacking a group of women who were protesting against the party’s anti-immigrant policies.
Shiv Sena has also been accused of attempting to censor free speech and artistic expression. The party has been involved in numerous controversies over the years regarding its attempts to ban books, movies, and other forms of expression that it deems offensive.
In 2016, Shiv Sena activists attacked the offices of a popular television channel in Mumbai over a comedy sketch that they found offensive.
Controversies between Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray
Eknath Shinde, a prominent Shiv Sena leader and Minister in the Maharashtra government, has had a complex relationship with Uddhav Thackeray, the current leader of Shiv Sena. While the two politicians have worked closely together for many years, they have also been involved in several controversies, which have highlighted the deep political divisions within their party.
Chief Ministerial Ambitions
One of the main sources of tension between Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray has been their respective ambitions to become Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Shinde, who is seen as a key power-broker within Shiv Sena, has long harbored aspirations of taking on the top job in the state.
However, Uddhav Thackeray, who is also widely regarded as a strong and charismatic leader, has been seen as the natural heir to the post of Chief Minister, given his position as the head of Shiv Sena. This has led to speculation that there may be a power struggle between the two leaders in the future.
Disagreements on Policy
Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray have also been involved in disagreements on policy issues. In particular, there have been differences of opinion on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, which has been one of the worst-affected states in India.
Shinde has been critical of some of the decisions taken by the Shiv Sena-led government, including the imposition of strict lockdown measures, which he feels have had a negative impact on the state’s economy. Thackeray, on the other hand, has defended the government’s actions as necessary to contain the spread of the virus.
The Story of Eknath Shinde’s Takeover
The Shiv Sena has long been a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, with a strong presence in Mumbai and other parts of the state. However, in recent years, the party has been plagued by internal turmoil, with infighting and power struggles between its leaders.
One of the key players in the Shiv Sena’s internal politics is Eknath Shinde, a senior leader who has been with the party for over three decades. Shinde has risen through the ranks to become one of the most powerful leaders in the party, and his influence has only grown in recent years.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the story of Shinde’s rise to power and the role he has played in the Shiv Sena’s internal politics.
The Rise of Eknath Shinde
Eknath Shinde joined the Shiv Sena in the 1980s and quickly rose through the ranks of the party. He became a corporator in the Thane Municipal Corporation in 1992 and went on to become the mayor of Thane in 2000.
In 2009, Shinde was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from the Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency in Thane. He was subsequently made the Minister of Public Works in the state cabinet.
Over the years, Shinde has built a reputation as a shrewd politician and a skilled administrator. He is widely regarded as one of the most powerful leaders in the Shiv Sena and has been instrumental in the party’s success in Thane and other parts of Maharashtra.
The Shiv sena Coup
In 2014, the Shiv Sena formed a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, with Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister. Eknath Shinde was made the Minister of Public Works in the state cabinet.
However, things began to sour between the Shiv Sena and the BJP, and in 2019, the Shiv Sena decided to break off its alliance with the BJP and form a government with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian National Congress (INC).
The Shiv Sena’s decision to break off its alliance with the BJP was largely driven by Eknath Shinde, who played a key role in convincing party chief Uddhav Thackeray to take the plunge. Shinde argued that the BJP was trying to undermine the Shiv Sena’s influence in Maharashtra and that the party needed to assert its independence.
Shinde’s efforts paid off, and in November 2019, the Shiv Sena-NCP-INC alliance formed a government in Maharashtra, with Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister.
The Power Struggle
Despite the Shiv Sena’s success in forming a government in Maharashtra, the party has continued to be plagued by internal turmoil, with power struggles and infighting between its leaders.
Eknath Shinde has emerged as a key player in this power struggle, and his growing influence within the party has reportedly upset some of the other senior leaders.
In particular, there have been reports of a rift between Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray, with some suggesting that Shinde is trying to assert his influence at the expense of the party chief.
The Future of Shiv Sena
The Shiv Sena’s internal turmoil and power struggles have raised questions about the party’s future and its ability to maintain its dominance in Maharashtra politics.
Highlight key instances of violence or divisive rhetoric associated with the party
Shiv Sena has been associated with several instances of violence and divisive rhetoric over the years. While the party has sometimes been seen as a champion of Marathi culture and identity, its actions have also been criticized as being intolerant and divisive.
Here are some of the key instances of violence and divisive rhetoric associated with Shiv Sena:
Babri Masjid Demolition
In 1992, Shiv Sena was one of the key organizations involved in the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The demolition led to widespread communal violence, which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people across India.
In 1992-93, Mumbai was rocked by communal riots, which were triggered by the Babri Masjid demolition. Shiv Sena was accused of stoking communal tensions and inciting violence during the riots. The party’s founder, Bal Thackeray, was also criticized for his inflammatory speeches, which were seen as encouraging violence against Muslims.
Attack on Biharis
In 2008, Shiv Sena launched a violent campaign against Biharis living in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. The party accused Biharis of taking away jobs from local Marathis and demanded that they leave the state. This led to several instances of violence and intimidation against Biharis, including attacks on their homes and businesses.
Attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni
In 2015, Shiv Sena activists attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former BJP member and political analyst, for organizing the launch of a book by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai. The party had opposed the launch of the book, which it claimed was an attempt to “glorify” Pakistan.