The BJP and the Shiv Sena have been rival partners in an alliance that is 35-year-old. Now, BJP has lost its oldest ally Shiv Sena after over three decades. Shiv Sena joined hands with the Congress and NCP to form the government in Maharashtra.
BJP and Shiv Sena came together for the first time in 1984. Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder of the Shiv Sena, made an agreement with the BJP leadership of LK Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee and fielded Shiv Sena candidates on BJP’s election symbol in the 1984 election.
Bal Thackeray was a staunch supporter of Hindutva. Thackeray had a strange political journey. He also supported Narendra Modi. Thackeray was among the few senior leaders in the NDA, besides Advani, who backed Modi as Gujarat chief minister.
The late Balasaheb (Thackeray) saved Narendra Modi after the 2002 Gujarat riots. He had categorically advised Advani that if Modi was removed as chief minister, BJP would lose Gujarat forever.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was planning to sack Narendra Modi after Gujarat riots, but Bal Thackeray convinced him for not doing so. “Modi gaya to Gujarat gaya (If Modi is gone, Gujarat will also slip out of BJP hands),” Bal Thackeray had told L K Advani. Narendra Modi was criticised by everyone, but Bal Thackeray stood by him.
Bal Thackeray used to say that I don’t know the BJP. I don’t know what Shiv Sena is. I just know Hindutva. This shows that Bala Saheb Thackeray also knew that Modi would emerge a stronger leader. But how the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray has changed after his demise.