Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray Battle for Survival in Maharashtra Ahead of 2024 Polls

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Shiv Sena and NCP face a survival test as they navigate party splits and alliances with the BJP. Rallies are set to take place in Mumbai on May 17, featuring prominent leaders from both ruling and opposition alliances.

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Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray Battle for Survival in Maharashtra Ahead of 2024 Polls

Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray Battle for Survival in Maharashtra Ahead of 2024 Polls

As India gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, regional heavyweights in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), find themselves at a critical juncture that could determine their political survival. The upcoming polls pose a litmus test for Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy, NCP chief Ajit Pawar, who have aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after splitting their respective parties.

Why this matters: The outcome of the Maharashtra polls will have significant implications for the national political landscape, as it could influence the balance of power in the Lok Sabha and shape the trajectory of Indian politics in the years to come. Furthermore, the fate of regional parties like the Shiv Sena and NCP will have a ripple effect on the country's federal structure and the role of state-level parties in national politics.

However, the challenge is more daunting for Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, who are out of power and have lost control of their parties, Shiv Sena and NCP, respectively, along with their original names and electoral symbols. The splits in both parties have created a unique situation, with the Election Commission and the Maharashtra assembly speaker recognizing the Ajit Pawar-led NCP and Shinde-led Sena as the real NCP and Shiv Sena.

Political analyst Abhay Deshpande noted that the upcoming elections pose a survival test for all four factions, but Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar may hold the upper hand due to potential sympathy votes. "It will also test the claims of Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray regarding the loyalty of their traditional voters and party cadres. Everything is at stake for Uddhav Thackeray," Deshpande said.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal accused Uddhav Thackeray of betraying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis, abandoning Hindutva, and joining hands with the Congress, which goes against Balasaheb Thackeray's principles. "Uddhav Thackeray betrayed us, he betrayed Modi ji and Fadnavis. After all, it was our alliance. The alliance got the majority of votes," Goyal stated, adding that sympathy will be for Modi and Fadnavis because they have been cheated and deceived.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis criticized Uddhav Thackeray, saying his speeches indicate he and is living in an illusion after the fall of his government. Fadnavis also targeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, calling him shameless for continuing as CM despite his arrest and interim bail in the Delhi liquor policy case. The BJP is in an alliance with the Shinde Sena and Ajit Pawar's NCP ahead of the Mumbai voting on May 20.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray to join the BJP-led NDA by merging their parties with the Ajit Pawar-led NCP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, respectively. Modi referred to Pawar's party as the "nakli (fake) NCP" and Uddhav's party as the "nakli Shiv Sena," saying they should join hands with Ajit Pawar and Eknath Shinde instead of merging with the Congress. "Chaar din baad Congress mai ja karke marne ki bajay seena taan karke humare Ajit dada aur Shinde ji ke saath aaoo, aapke sabhi sapne poore ho jayenge" (Instead of merging with the Congress and dying four days later, join hands with Ajit Pawar and Eknath Shinde with pride, all your dreams will be fulfilled), Modi said.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the ruling and opposition alliances are set to hold simultaneous rallies in Mumbai on May 17. The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) will hold a rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) featuring prominent leaders like Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP founder Sharad Pawar, and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal

Key Takeaways

  • Shiv Sena and NCP face survival test in 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
  • Outcome will impact national politics and federal structure.
  • Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar's factions may gain sympathy votes.
  • BJP-led alliance criticizes Uddhav Thackeray for betraying Modi and Fadnavis.
  • Rival alliances to hold simultaneous rallies in Mumbai on May 17.