Mumbai: After it became clear that BJP has won the support of 134 MLAs in the Assembly elections and the votes of Shiv Sena and Congress have split, some Shiv Sena MLAs under the leadership of Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde have raised the flag of rebellion. Earlier, there were instances of Chhagan Bhujbal, Ganesh Naik, Narayan Rane, Raj Thackeray revolting in Shiv Sena, but it was mainly a revolt of ambitious leaders. The main difference between the past and present revolts is that now the Shiv Sena MLAs have revolted against the party’s policy from the Congress-NCP alliance.
The biggest revolt in the Shiv Sena was that of Chhagan Bhujbal. Chhagan Bhujbal had revolted in 1991, citing his anger over the appointment of Manohar Joshi as Leader of Opposition and differences with Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray over the Mandal Commission. Although there were some people with him at that time, the nature of the revolt was similar to the revolt of Bhujbal. Shiv Sena was not divided. It is noteworthy that Chhagan Bhujbal was defeated in the assembly elections held after this mutiny and Shiv Sena-BJP came to power in the state.
While Shiv Sena-BJP was in power in the state, the dominance of Ganesh Naik, a strong leader of Shiv Sena in Navi Mumbai, became very visible in the eyes of many. After that, a fight broke out between Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray and Ganesh Naik. Finally, Ganesh Naik made Shiv Sena win Maharashtra. At the same time, a strong leader like Ganesh Naik left the party. Ganesh Naik was also defeated in the 1999 assembly elections. This revolt also remained the revolt of a leader.
After this there was a big revolt in Shiv Sena led by Narayan Rane. After the 2004 elections, Narayan Rane revolted out of anger that Uddhav Thackeray was taking over all the reins of the party. Compared to Chhagan Bhujbal and Ganesh Naik, Narayan Rane’s rebellion was bigger. Some MLAs also went with him. But their numbers were measurable. Even at that time, the Shiv Sena leadership succeeded in preventing a split in the Shiv Sena. The last big revolt in Shiv Sena was Raj Thackeray’s. He revolted from the ambitious struggle between Raj and Uddhav. For the first time, the Thackeray family split. Although it was a big family tragedy, there was not much political damage at the MLA level. Raj Thackeray got the support of Bala Nandgaonkar and another MLA but Shiv Sena remained dominant even after MNS was formed.
Now the Shiv Sena is divided under the leadership of Eknath Shinde. But this revolt is different from the previous revolts. Many Shiv Sena MLAs have come together over the same grievances with the Congress and the NCP over the formation of the Mahavikas Aghadi government and the lack of proper communication with them and the resulting political difficulties in the constituency. This revolt is the collective resentment of Shiv Sena MLAs against the party’s policy and working method. Shiv Sena MLAs have taken the support of a politically useful leader as he is as strong and close to BJP as Eknath Shinde during the revolt. That is why, like Bhujbal, Rane, Naik, Raj Thackeray, this is not just a revolt of personal ambition, but a mass explosion of displeasure of Shiv Sena MLAs.