Shiv Sena was formed in 1966 by Balasaheb Thackeray. It is a major regional party in Maharashtra. The party was in power in the state from 1995-99. It has been an ally of BJP since the 1970s and part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The party is led by Uddhav, Balasaheb’s son. The party has been weakened over the years with major leaders like Narayan Rane, Chagan Bhujbal and more recently Raj Thackeray (Uddhav’s cousin) leaving the party. While Rane and Bhujbal went on and joined Congress and NCP respectively, Raj formed his own party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) over differences with Uddhav.
The party currently has 11 members in the Lok Sabha. With an anti Congress wave in the country, the party is expected to improve its tally in next Lok Sabha elections. The party like Akali Dal gave its go ahead for declaration of NaMo as NDA’s PM candidate. The party has resisted any moves to bring MNS into NDA fold.
Recently Nitin Gadkari (former President of BJP) met Raj Thackeray and tried to persuade him to opt out of Lok Sabha polls so as to not to split anti Congress / NCP votes. Resultantly, MNS has decides to not field candidates against BJP and only put up candidates against Shiv Sena. This has not gone down well with Shiv Sena which even threatened to pull of out of NDA. However, things seem to have been sorted out as of now with Modi calling Uddhav and assuring him that Shiv Sena is the strongest and oldest ally of BJP.
Historical Perfomance in Maharashtra (Lok Sabha)
|% of Maharashtra Seats||2.1%||8.3%||31.3%||12.5%||31.3%||25.0%||22.9%|
Shiv Sena has fared decently in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. Best performance being 15 seats in 1996 and 1999.
Possibilities in Lok Sabha
Riding on Modi wave and strong anti-incumbency against UPA govt. both at center and state, Shiv Sena is expected to match its best performance in 1996-99. Politicalbaaba projects 14 seats for Shiv Sena. It is a key ally of BJP and if NDA comes to power will get key ministries.