Shiv Sena MPs feel trust vote flip-flop has hurt party

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena’s flip-flop on Friday’s no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government has further damaged its credibility and political capital with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sena MPs and Maharashtra legislators said.
On 18 July, chief whip of the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha and Aurangabad MP Chandrakant Khaire issued a three-line whip to all Sena MPs asking them to attend the House on 19 and 20 July, and support the government against the motion. But the next day, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said the Sena would abstain during the vote. As if on cue, Khaire did a somersault on 20 July, saying he had never issued the whip and echoed what Raut had announced in Mumbai. When the no-confidence motion was actually put to vote on Friday night, all 18 Sena MPs stayed absent.
A Shiv Sena MP, who did not want to be named, told Mint that this constant “flip-flop” had further strained the relationship between the party and BJP, and also affected its political credibility. “We should have taken a position on the no-confidence motion and stuck to it throughout. By changing positions, we showed that we were unsure of our own politics,” this MP said. He said such fluctuations had become too frequent and were creating confusion in the minds of the cadres.
“We have to be careful that we don’t end up in a situation wherein building bridges with the BJP becomes politically unjustifiable. There is a large section of cadres which wants us to go our own way but this section is not really sure if that is the position we are going to take eventually. While we want to keep the BJP guessing, there is a lot of confusion among our own cadres which needs to be addressed now since we are getting close to the elections,” said the Sena MP.
In a telling sign, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana in its 21 July edition showered praise on Congress president Rahul Gandhi with the headline “Bhaava, jinklas” (brother, you have won hearts) referring to the Congress president’s hug with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Saamana report said the Congress president had shown lot of magnanimity and maturity by walking across to Modi and hugging the Prime Minister.