Senas queering the pitch for NDA, UPA


Soroor Ahmed*



(Bihar Times) Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, the two sides of the same coin, have queered the pitch of the two major political conglomerations the National Democratic Alliance and United Progressive Alliance. While the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, two important constituents of the UPA are finding it difficult to answer several uncomfortable questions as it is their government which is in power in Maharashtra the NDA is facing an embarrassing situation as Shiv Sena is its oldest and trusted ally.

While Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra can be blamed for lack of action against the Thackerays––especially Raj––and their goons, for the NDA in Bihar the Shiv Sena is becoming too heavy a burden to be carried further. The BJP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra and at the national level is just like Janata Dal (United)-BJP combination in Bihar. They both had been in power in Maharashtra for full one term in the 1990s. In fact their alliance goes further back. Shiv Sainiks, along with the BJP men, were quite instrumental in the Babri Masjid demolition movement which culminated on December 6, 1992. For the last almost two decades the BJP were never apologetic for having Shiv Sena as a partner.

The NDA constituents in Bihar have been singling out Raj Thackeray for condemnation yet at the same time they had been speaking nothing against Bal Thackeray. But the elder Thackeray did not want his nephew Raj to score over him and came out openly against the Biharis. In and editorial in his mouthpiece Samana he dubbed Rahul Raj, the youth shot dead by police in Mumbai, as the Bihari mafia killed in a Bihari style. This forced the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, to denounce Shiv Sena. He was in particular hurt by the expression mafia used for Rahul Raj and that too at the time when the state was mourning his death.

As if that was not enough: Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, who belongs to the BJP, on Wednesday turned the heat on Bal Thackeray’s son Uddhav, the Executive President of Shiv Sena for his utterances against the Bihari leaders. Though Modi could not muster enough courage to say anything against Bal Thackeray his counter-attack on Uddhav clearly indicated that the Bihar BJP is feeling quite let down by the way Shiv Sena is behaving.

Not only that one of the UPA constituents in Bihar, the Nationalist Congress Party, is passing through its worst phase. After Maharashtra it is only in Bihar where this party tried to organize itself. Sharad Pawar, Tariq Anwar and P A Sangma were the three leading lights of the NCP. With Sangma gone Tariq Anwar was the only leader of some standing outside Maharashtra. A few months back the leader of opposition in Bihar assembly during the Rabri Devi government, Upendra Kushwaha, left Janata Dal (United) and joined the NCP. He was trying to emerge as the leader of Koeris, the caste to which he belongs, and vowed to teach Nitish Kumar a lesson. But the anti-Bihari hate crimes in Maharashtra finally forced him to come out openly against that state government. On Thursday he hit out at the home minister of that state, R R Patil, for his statement on the killing of Rahul Raj. He has sought Sharad Pawar’s intervention as he is finding himself before a
*The author is a Patna-based journalist.