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In The Group Hug With Fadnavis & Ajit Pawar, Eknath Shinde's Discomfort Evident

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.

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"This arrangement between the BJP, Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will not work. The general sentiment is that a few months down the line, the frictions will only increase and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will eventually attempt to lead the government," an MLA of Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena (SHS) told The Quint on the condition of anonymity, while highlighting the unrest within the party in the over NCP leader Ajit Pawar joining the ranks.

By engineering a coup on the NCP and joining the Maharashtra government as the deputy chief minister on 2 July, Ajit Pawar did not just shock the voters in the state, but also many MLAs of the Eknath Shinde faction who once again find themselves in the exact dilemma they faced in 2019 when Uddhav Thackeray's decided to ally with the NCP and the Congress.

In June last year, 40 of the Shiv Sena MLAs in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by Shinde withdrew support, split the Shiv Sena, and formed the government with the BJP on the basis of two claims — First, that the NCP was trying to finish the Shiv Sena, and second, Ajit Pawar ensured MLAs of other parties didn't get funds for their constituencies.
From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.

Maharashtra Chief Miniter Eknath Shinde with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and others releases a booklet, in Mumbai, Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

Naturally, the latest developments have left most of Shinde's MLAs red-faced.

For the past five days since Ajit Pawar's move, the Shinde-led Shiv Sena has gone from being silent on the matter to a few of them openly expressing their disappointment, presumably on behalf of many others who are not speaking to the media.

As the unrest grows, Shinde and the BJP are trying their best to pacify their fears. The whole fiasco for the Shinde and the BJP can be looked at from four large aspects:

In The Group Hug With Fadnavis & Ajit Pawar, Eknath Shinde's Discomfort Evident

  1. 1. 'Ajit Pawar Will Meddle, Create Hurdles': Major Concerns of Shinde's MLAs

    There are five clear concerns which are reasons behind the unrest in the Shinde camp:

    • Loss of monopoly as the only party the BJP could rely upon to stay in power

    • NCP leaders being inducted into the state government while expansion of the Shinde-Fadnavis cabinet was long due to incorporate many from the Sena who were promised berths last year

    • Dilemma over joining hands with those they were wrestling even while being in the MVA

    • Having to make more compromises than promised when it comes to sharing of seats in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections scheduled for 2024

    • Fear that Ajit Pawar will meddle and interfere to create hurdles for them like he allegedly did in the MVA government

    After two days of uneasy silence from the faction, the confirmation of the unrest came first on 4 July when senior leader Sanjay Shirsat said that several MLAs are disappointed but their fears will be pacified by Shinde.

    "We didn't need a majority, then why were they (NCP) taken on board? That is the question everybody is asking," Shirsat told the media.

    "The Shiv Sena and the BJP had formed an alliance. The third party came unexpectedly. Whenever a third party comes, it has to be given some share which Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde have given. Because we have lost some ministerial berths, some MLAs being upset is natural and they have expressed that," Shirsat said on Wednesday.

    From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.

    Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais congratulates the newly sworn-in Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during a ceremony at Raj Bhavan, in Mumbai, Sunday, July 2, 2023.

    (Photo: PTI)

    Sentiments within the Shiv Sena peaked on Wednesday, following which Shinde cut short his Nagpur trip and returned to Mumbai to hold a meeting with his MLAs. In a meeting held at Varsha bungalow, many MLAs expressed disappointment openly, with quarrels having taken place between a few of them, sources said.
    Expand
  2. 2. 'Won't Accept': NCP Joinees Face Open Rebellion from Sena, BJP Leaders

    Less than a week into the alliance, sparks have begun to fly between leaders over respective constituencies.

    Parth Pawar vs Shrirang Barne:

    The most prominent face-off between the NCP and the Shiv Sena has emerged in the Maval Lok Sabha constituency, a seat which Ajit Pawar's son Parth lost in the 2019 Assembly elections to united Shiv Sena's Shrirang Barne. Barne on Thursday told the media that he will represent the constituency for the BJP-Sena-NCP alliance in 2024 too.

    From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
    "Ajit Pawar has just joined the alliance. There are some other allies too. But in 2024 Lok Sabha elections, I will surely contest from the Maval constituency," Barne told a local news channel.

    Parth faced a similar challenge to contest from Maval as the Uddhav-led Sena was also keen to contest from the seat while Ajit was in the MVA.

    Aditi Tatkare vs Bharatshet Gogawale:

    NCP leader Aditi Tatkare, who was inducted into the Maharashtra cabinet on 2 July with Ajit Pawar, is already facing an open rebellion from Shiv Sena MLA Bharatshet Gogawale and his supporters in Raigad.

    Daughter of Sunil Tatkare who was a former Sharad Pawar loyalist and was recently declared Maharashtra NCP 'chief' by Ajit Pawar, Aditi is a prominent OBC leader of the Raigad region and was declared the guardian minister of Raigad just two days after taking oath to objections from Gogawale.

    From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
    An MLA and a senior leader representing Mahad constituency for the third consecutive time, Gogawale said: "When discussions had happened with the CM and deputy CM, we were told that the post of the guardian minister of Raigad will be given to the Shiv Sena. There were only the BJP and the Sena in the alliance at the time, so we had these discussions already in case the BJP wanted to stake claim. So, there is no question that the post goes to the NCP."

    Other than Gogawale, Aditi's appointment is being opposed by five other MLAs from Raigad. Mahendra Thorve, Shiv Sena MLA from Karjat said: "I am clearly stating that we will not accept her as the guardian minister."

    Hasan Mushrif vs Sunil Ghatge:

    Kolhapur Rural district BJP chief Sunil Ghatge on Thursday said that he will contest the 2024 elections against NCP leader and now cabinet minister Hasan Mushrif from the Kagal constituency.

    From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
    Addressing a large gathering of supporters, Ghatge said: "Today, I have performed the 'bhoomi-pujan' of my victory. I will not just contest, but win with a record margin. We will win the Kondana fort of Kagal in October 2024."
    Expand
  3. 3. 'BJP Doesn't Care About Us?': Shiv Sena Not the Only Ally Which is Upset

    The unrest is not just within the Shiv Sena but even within the Prahar Janshakti Party (PHJSP).

    "There is a sentiment within the 40 MLAs with Eknath Shinde if they made a mistake by joining hands with the BJP. Many feel that they should have been taken into confidence before the decision since they are in the alliance. Our party is an ally in the state government but we did not know either," said PHJSP leader and Achalapur MLA Bacchu Kadu, who has been openly speaking about the unrest for the past few days.

    "If dada (Ajit Pawar) is here now, he will try to grab funds for his own MLAs and meddle in the affairs of our party," Kadu told ABP Majha on Thursday.

    From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
    Kadu trained guns at the BJP saying that the party's clear goal is to strengthen itself without caring about its allies. "They just want to win the Lok Sabha elections," he said.

    Trying to pacify Kadu, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Thursday publicly promised a "big role" to him in the alliance.

    "Nobody is upset, but some disappointment is natural. He used to be a minister, so his stand is not incorrect. Leaders like Bacchu Kadu have been given prominence in this alliance which they did not get in the MVA. Hence, Devendra Fadnavis will ensure a big role for him," Bawankule said.

    Expand
  4. 4. Shinde, BJP Attempt to Pacify, But Challenges Have Only Increased

    Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, that has been saying that Shinde won't be the CM for long after Ajit Pawar's alliance, claimed that 8-10 of Shinde's MLAs approached them to return to the "original Shiv Sena". In a media address, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut claimed that the party will not accept any of them back.

    Sanjay Raut even asked Shinde faction MLAs to recollect their remarks against Chhagan Bhujbal and "resign if they have any morality."

    The Shiv Sena MLA who spoke to The Quint anonymously said: "I am not aware if any MLA has been contacted. I have certainly not been approached."

    CM Shinde later broke his silence on the brewing unrest and downplayed the developments.

    Commenting on the ministerial berths, Shinde said: "There is no disappointment. I met all MLAs and spoke to them. We left positions of power and came to the other side. We did not know what would happen in the future."

    Cabinet minister and Shiv Sena leader Uday Samant addressed the media on Thursday to say that neither Shirsat nor Gogawale are 'upset or disappointed'. Samant, however, mentioned that Shinde now expects the cabinet expansion to happen at the earliest.

    "The colleagus from our party should also get justice is the clear stand of Eknath Shinde ji. So, the pending cabinet expansion will happen soon," Samant said.

    While the top leadership of the Shiv Sena and the BJP is trying hard to downplay the unrest within the alliance, it is clear that the NCP's entry has only complicated matters in what would have been a smoother equation between the two saffron parties.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

'Ajit Pawar Will Meddle, Create Hurdles': Major Concerns of Shinde's MLAs

There are five clear concerns which are reasons behind the unrest in the Shinde camp:

  • Loss of monopoly as the only party the BJP could rely upon to stay in power

  • NCP leaders being inducted into the state government while expansion of the Shinde-Fadnavis cabinet was long due to incorporate many from the Sena who were promised berths last year

  • Dilemma over joining hands with those they were wrestling even while being in the MVA

  • Having to make more compromises than promised when it comes to sharing of seats in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections scheduled for 2024

  • Fear that Ajit Pawar will meddle and interfere to create hurdles for them like he allegedly did in the MVA government

After two days of uneasy silence from the faction, the confirmation of the unrest came first on 4 July when senior leader Sanjay Shirsat said that several MLAs are disappointed but their fears will be pacified by Shinde.

"We didn't need a majority, then why were they (NCP) taken on board? That is the question everybody is asking," Shirsat told the media.

"The Shiv Sena and the BJP had formed an alliance. The third party came unexpectedly. Whenever a third party comes, it has to be given some share which Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde have given. Because we have lost some ministerial berths, some MLAs being upset is natural and they have expressed that," Shirsat said on Wednesday.

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.

Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais congratulates the newly sworn-in Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during a ceremony at Raj Bhavan, in Mumbai, Sunday, July 2, 2023.

(Photo: PTI)

Sentiments within the Shiv Sena peaked on Wednesday, following which Shinde cut short his Nagpur trip and returned to Mumbai to hold a meeting with his MLAs. In a meeting held at Varsha bungalow, many MLAs expressed disappointment openly, with quarrels having taken place between a few of them, sources said.
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'Won't Accept': NCP Joinees Face Open Rebellion from Sena, BJP Leaders

Less than a week into the alliance, sparks have begun to fly between leaders over respective constituencies.

Parth Pawar vs Shrirang Barne:

The most prominent face-off between the NCP and the Shiv Sena has emerged in the Maval Lok Sabha constituency, a seat which Ajit Pawar's son Parth lost in the 2019 Assembly elections to united Shiv Sena's Shrirang Barne. Barne on Thursday told the media that he will represent the constituency for the BJP-Sena-NCP alliance in 2024 too.

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
"Ajit Pawar has just joined the alliance. There are some other allies too. But in 2024 Lok Sabha elections, I will surely contest from the Maval constituency," Barne told a local news channel.

Parth faced a similar challenge to contest from Maval as the Uddhav-led Sena was also keen to contest from the seat while Ajit was in the MVA.

Aditi Tatkare vs Bharatshet Gogawale:

NCP leader Aditi Tatkare, who was inducted into the Maharashtra cabinet on 2 July with Ajit Pawar, is already facing an open rebellion from Shiv Sena MLA Bharatshet Gogawale and his supporters in Raigad.

Daughter of Sunil Tatkare who was a former Sharad Pawar loyalist and was recently declared Maharashtra NCP 'chief' by Ajit Pawar, Aditi is a prominent OBC leader of the Raigad region and was declared the guardian minister of Raigad just two days after taking oath to objections from Gogawale.

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
An MLA and a senior leader representing Mahad constituency for the third consecutive time, Gogawale said: "When discussions had happened with the CM and deputy CM, we were told that the post of the guardian minister of Raigad will be given to the Shiv Sena. There were only the BJP and the Sena in the alliance at the time, so we had these discussions already in case the BJP wanted to stake claim. So, there is no question that the post goes to the NCP."

Other than Gogawale, Aditi's appointment is being opposed by five other MLAs from Raigad. Mahendra Thorve, Shiv Sena MLA from Karjat said: "I am clearly stating that we will not accept her as the guardian minister."

Hasan Mushrif vs Sunil Ghatge:

Kolhapur Rural district BJP chief Sunil Ghatge on Thursday said that he will contest the 2024 elections against NCP leader and now cabinet minister Hasan Mushrif from the Kagal constituency.

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
Addressing a large gathering of supporters, Ghatge said: "Today, I have performed the 'bhoomi-pujan' of my victory. I will not just contest, but win with a record margin. We will win the Kondana fort of Kagal in October 2024."
0

'BJP Doesn't Care About Us?': Shiv Sena Not the Only Ally Which is Upset

The unrest is not just within the Shiv Sena but even within the Prahar Janshakti Party (PHJSP).

"There is a sentiment within the 40 MLAs with Eknath Shinde if they made a mistake by joining hands with the BJP. Many feel that they should have been taken into confidence before the decision since they are in the alliance. Our party is an ally in the state government but we did not know either," said PHJSP leader and Achalapur MLA Bacchu Kadu, who has been openly speaking about the unrest for the past few days.

"If dada (Ajit Pawar) is here now, he will try to grab funds for his own MLAs and meddle in the affairs of our party," Kadu told ABP Majha on Thursday.

From expressing disappointment to staking claims on seats, Shinde-led Shiv Sena is unhappy with the NCP alliance.
Kadu trained guns at the BJP saying that the party's clear goal is to strengthen itself without caring about its allies. "They just want to win the Lok Sabha elections," he said.

Trying to pacify Kadu, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Thursday publicly promised a "big role" to him in the alliance.

"Nobody is upset, but some disappointment is natural. He used to be a minister, so his stand is not incorrect. Leaders like Bacchu Kadu have been given prominence in this alliance which they did not get in the MVA. Hence, Devendra Fadnavis will ensure a big role for him," Bawankule said.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Shinde, BJP Attempt to Pacify, But Challenges Have Only Increased

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, that has been saying that Shinde won't be the CM for long after Ajit Pawar's alliance, claimed that 8-10 of Shinde's MLAs approached them to return to the "original Shiv Sena". In a media address, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut claimed that the party will not accept any of them back.

Sanjay Raut even asked Shinde faction MLAs to recollect their remarks against Chhagan Bhujbal and "resign if they have any morality."

The Shiv Sena MLA who spoke to The Quint anonymously said: "I am not aware if any MLA has been contacted. I have certainly not been approached."

CM Shinde later broke his silence on the brewing unrest and downplayed the developments.

Commenting on the ministerial berths, Shinde said: "There is no disappointment. I met all MLAs and spoke to them. We left positions of power and came to the other side. We did not know what would happen in the future."

Cabinet minister and Shiv Sena leader Uday Samant addressed the media on Thursday to say that neither Shirsat nor Gogawale are 'upset or disappointed'. Samant, however, mentioned that Shinde now expects the cabinet expansion to happen at the earliest.

"The colleagus from our party should also get justice is the clear stand of Eknath Shinde ji. So, the pending cabinet expansion will happen soon," Samant said.

While the top leadership of the Shiv Sena and the BJP is trying hard to downplay the unrest within the alliance, it is clear that the NCP's entry has only complicated matters in what would have been a smoother equation between the two saffron parties.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  NCP   Shiv Sena   Sharad Pawar 

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