Sena in shock as BJP narrows gap in BMC
ing in the opposition and looking for a dalliance with the BJP,” he explained.
“Raj Thackeray is trying to revive his party (MNS). That holds a threat for the Shiv Sena, which must consolidate itself… the real threat for the Sena lies in areas outside the Mumbai-Thane belt,” the Shiv Sena source said.
Sena legislators grumble that despite the party enjoying a strong base in areas outside Mumbai like the Konkan, Marathwada, North Maharashtra and Western Vidarbha, the organisation has done little to build up organic, grassroots leaderships there. They complain that the Shiv Sena has developed a Mumbai-centric focus over the years, which comes at the cost of its base in semi-urban and rural Maharashtra.
Despite the increasing tide of linguistic politics, the falling numbers of Maharashtrians in Mumbai and a section of upper and middle-class Maharashtrians shifting loyalties to the BJP too does not augur well for the Shiv Sena.
Ashok Patil, Shiv Sena MLA from Bhandup, whose wife Meenakshi lost the byelection— her second consecutive defeat from the seat — charged that the BJP’s victory was the result of “manipulation of EVM machines”.
He admitted that the victory had increased from just 358 to around 4,791. In the 2014 assembly elections, Patil had a lead of 1,100 votes.