Akhil Bharatiya Sena

Akhil Bharatiya Sena

Akhil Bharatiya Sena (अखिल भारतीय सेना, All India Army) is a political party in India. Founded in 1997 and led by the Mumbai mafia don and contract killer Arun Gawli (alias ‘Daddy’). Gawli had earlier been close to the Shiv Sena supremo, Bal Thackeray, but in 1996 a bloody feud surged between them when Arunbhai mercilessly slew several Sena party legislators and party workers. Gawli organized ABS as a counterwight to SS.

In the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections 2002 the ABS candidate Sunil Ghate defeated the Sena candidate in Gawli’s home turf. Ghate is today the sole ABS corporator in BMC.

In the Lok Sabha elections 2004 Gawli got 92 210 votes (26,5%) in the constituency Mumbai South Central.

In the Maharashtra state assembly elections later the same year ABS launched 20 candidates. One (Gawli) got elected.

ABS is based in Maharashtra, but does also have a branch in Goa.

The trade union wing of ABS is called Akhil Bharatiya Kamgar Sena.

Indian National Congress

Indian National Congress (also known as the Congress Party or Congress (I), abbreviated INC) is a major political party in India. Created in 1885, the Indian National Congress became the nation’s leader in the Independence Movement, with over 15 million Indians involved in its organizations and over 70 million participants in its struggle against the British Empire. After independence in 1947, it became the nation’s dominant political party. In the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009), 145 INC members, the largest contingent amongst all parties, serve in the house. The party is currently the chief member of the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition government supported by the Left Front.

History

The history of the Indian National Congress falls into two distinct eras:

  • The pre-independence era, when the party was at the forefront of the struggle for independence;
  • The post-independence era, when the party has enjoyed a prominent place in Indian politics, ruling the country for 47 of the 59 years since independence in 1947.

The pre-independence era

Founded in 1885 with the object of obtaining a greater share in government for educated Indians, the Indian National Congress was initially not opposed to British rule. The Congress met once a year during December. Indeed, it was a Scotsman, Allan Octavian Hume, who brought about its first meeting in Bombay, with the approval of Lord Dufferin, the then-Viceroy. Womesh Chandra Banerjee was the first President of the INC. The first meeting was scheduled to be held in Pune but due to a plague breakout there, the meeting was later shifted to Mumbai. So the first Session of INC was held from 28-31st December 1885, and was attended by 72 delegates.
A few years down the line, the demands of INC became more radical in the face of constant opposition from the government, and the party became very active in the independence movement. By 1907 the party was split into two halves: the Garam Dal of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, or Extremists (literally “hot faction”), and the Naram Dal of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, or Moderates (literally “soft faction”), distinguished by their attitude towards the British.

After the First World War the party became associated with Mahatma Gandhi, who remained its unofficial, spiritual leader and mass icon even as younger men and women became party president. The party was in many ways an umbrella organisation, sheltering within itself radical socialists, traditionalists and even Hindu and Muslim conservatives.

The official flag of the Congress during the Independence struggle.

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The official flag of the Congress during the Independence struggle.

In its time as the nation’s leader in the freedom struggle, it produced the nation’s greatest leaders. Before the Gandhi Era came leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (later leader of the Muslim League and instrumental in the creation of Pakistan), all starting with the first legendary icon of Indians: Dadabhai Naoroji, the president of the sister Indian National Association and later Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons, the first Indian to win a seat there.

The 1929 Lahore session under the presidency of Jawahar Lal Nehru holds special significance as in this session “Poorna Swaraj” was declared as the goal of INC. 26th January 1930 was declared as the “Poorna Swaraj Diwas”. It was to commemorate this date particularly that The Indian Constitution was formerly adopted on 26th January 1950(even though it was passed on 26th November 1949.)

With the rise of Mahatma Gandhi’s popularity and his Satyagraha art of revolution came Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (the nation’s first Prime Minister), Dr. Rajendra Prasad (the nation’s first President), Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Chakravarti Rajgopalachari, Jivatram Kripalani and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The Congress under Gandhi’s influence became the first integrated mass organization in the country, bringing together millions of people by specifically working against caste differences, untouchability, poverty, and religious and ethnic boundaries. Although predominantly Hindu, it had members from virtually every religion, ethnic group, economic class and linguistic group. The Indian National Congress could claim to be the true representative of the Indian people.

The post-independence era

The party remained in power for thirty continuous years between independence in 1947 and its first taste of electoral defeat (at the national level) in 1977.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel are said to have held the view that the INC was formed only for achieving independence and should have been disbanded in 1947. However, at the time of independence, the INC (led by Jawaharlal Nehru) was a major political organization in the country, and was established as the major political party. The Congress thus, considering the perceived need for a stable leadership and guiding vision after the terrible chaos and confusion following the Partition of India and Independence, was re-established as an electoral party in independent India. Across several general elections, the party ruled uninterrupted until 1977, and has remained a major political force.

After the murder of Gandhi in 1948 and the death of Sardar Patel in 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru was the sole remaining iconic national leader, and soon the situation became so that Nehru was key to the political potency and future of the Congress. Nehru embraced secularism, socialist economic policies and a non-aligned foreign policy, which became the hallmark of the modern Congress Party. Nehru’s policies challenged the landed class, the business class and improved the position of religious minorities and lower caste Hindus. A generation of freedom fighting leaders were soon replaced by a generation of people who had grown up in the shadow of Nehru. Nehru led the Congress Party to consecutively awesome majorities in the elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.

After Nehru’s death in 1964, the party’s future first came into question. No leader was competitive enough to touch Nehru’s iconic status, so the second-stage leadership mustered around the compromise candidate, the gentle, soft-spoken and Nehruvian Lal Bahadur Shastri. Shastri remained Prime Minister till his own death in 1966, and a broad Congress Party election opted for Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, over the right-wing, conservative Morarji Desai.

In 1955 in Awadi session the party adopted a socialistic pattern of society for India.

Indira Gandhi

Congress mural in Kolkata

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Congress mural in Kolkata

The first serious challenge to Congress hegemony came in 1967 when a united opposition, under the banner of Samyukt Vidhanayak Dal, won control over several states in the Hindi belt. Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Nehru, and Congress president, was then challenged by the majority of the party leadership. The conflict led to a split, and Indira launched a separate INC. Initially this party was known as Congress (R), but it soon came to be generally known as the New Congress. The official party became known as Indian National Congress (Organisation) led by Kamaraj. It was informally called the Old Congress. As Indira Priyadarshini had control over the state machinery, her faction was recognized as the “real” INC by the Election Commission of India, although her organization was the break-away group.

The split can in some ways be seen as a left-wing/right-wing division. Indira Gandhi wanted to use a populist agenda in order to mobilise popular support for the party. She raised slogans such as Garibi Hatao (Remove Poverty), and wanted to develop closer ties with the Soviet Union. The regional party elites, who formed the INC(O), stood for a more conservative agenda, and distrusted Soviet help. INC(O) later merged into the Janata Party.

Gradually, Indira Gandhi grew more and more authoritarian. Following allegations of widespread rigging in the general elections, a court overturned Indira Gandhi’s victory in the Parliamentary constituency. Facing growing opposition she proclaimed a state of National emergency in 1975, curtailed the powers of the courts, and unleashed a police state with herself as the supreme leader (‘acting Prime Minister’).

After she lifted the emergency in 1977, more Congress factions were formed, the one remaining loyal to Indira Gandhi being popularly known as Congress(I) with an ‘I’ for Indira. The Congress (I) was routed in the general elections by the Janata Party. The party was able to return to power in the 1980 elections. In 1984 Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards, as a revenge for Operation Blue Star. In the following days thousands of Sikhs were killed in riots, especially in Delhi. Many human rights organisations consider that Congress activists played a role in carrying out the 1984 riots[1].

The post-Indira era

Election symbol of the Congress

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Election symbol of the Congress

After Indira, her son Rajiv Gandhi, took over as Congress leader and led the party to victory with a large majority in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections. It governed from 1984-9 and then was defeated in the 1989 general election. Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated by the LTTE during the course of the election campaign in 1991. Following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, P.V. Narasimha Rao succeeded him as Congress leader and became prime minister.

The 1990s was a period of prolonged crisis for the Congress. After gradually losing political influence the party asked the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, to accept the position as Congress President. Refusing in 1991, the Congress stuck with Narasimha Rao and after him, Sitaram Kesri. Although Rao was Prime Minister of a coalition Congress administration from 1991-1996, Kesri led the Congress to a historic low in the 1998 elections. It appeared that the Congress was politically impotent, with no real future. In 1998, Sonia Gandhi is considered by some to have finally saved the Congress from extinction by accepting the presidency of the party.

After the election of Sonia Gandhi as party leader, a section broke away and formed Nationalist Congress Party. Where breakaway factions are active, the use of “Congress (I)” to denote the party run by Indira Gandhi’s successors continues. There have been repeated attempts by the Indian nationalist groups (such as the BJP) to discredit Sonia Gandhi’s leadership on the basis of her foreign origin. Nonetheless she has emerged as one of the most popular political leaders of India, suggesting that the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is still considered to be a mark of legitimacy for broad sections of the Indian population.

Indian Prime Ministers from the Congress Party

  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1947 – 1964)
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964 – 1966)
  • Indira Gandhi (1966 – 1977, 1980 – 1984)
  • Rajiv Gandhi (1984 – 1989)
  • P.V. Narasimha Rao (1991 – 1996)
  • Manmohan Singh (2004 -)

Political accusations

Since the party has dominated the political landscape of India for over a century, there are many charges of corruption and similar charges against it. Some examples are:

  • Anti-Sikh riots – After the assassination of Indira Gandhi by Sikh militants following Operation Bluestar, many Congress workers prominently including Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were accused of inciting and participating in anti-Sikh riots that killed thousands. The Congress apologised many years later for its silence on these events, an apology that was considered inadequate by some of those concerned.
  • Volcker report – The Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) appointed by the United Nations in its final report released on October 27, 2005 confirms that documents state: ‘Beneficiary: India: Congress Party’ with an entitlement of 4 million barrels of crude’ and `Beneficiary: India: Singh Mr K. Natwar’ with an entitlement of 4 million barrels’.
  • The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has repeatedly accused the Congress of showing favouritism to the Indian Muslim community and the toleration, or even promotion of, Islamic fanaticism and obscurantism. Congress policy is also accused of causing fifty years of economic stagnation, following Independence, and of excessive veneration of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Formation of present Government of India

In the 2004 general elections, the Congress alliance won the largest number of seats and got an assurance of support from the Left Front upsetting the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance, which according to all forecasts was going to coast to victory. Shortly thereafter, Sonia Gandhi was nominated by the Congress-led 19-party alliance to be the next Prime Minister. But in what was described as the dropping of a political bombshell, Sonia Gandhi refused to take the position based on her “inner voice”. She backed eminent economist, former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Dr. Manmohan Singh for the post of Prime Minister, and he was sworn-in as Prime Minister on 22 May 2004.

Internal Organization

The organization developed by Gandhi’s reorganization of the Congress in the years of 1918 to 1920 has largely been retained till today.

In every Indian state and union territory or pradesh, there is a Pradesh Congress Committee, which is the provincial unit of the party, responsible for directing political campaigns at local and state levels and assisting the campaigns for Parliamentary constituencies. Each PCC has a Working Committee of 10-15 key members, and the state president is the leader of the state unit. The Congressmen elected as members of the states legislative assemblies form the Congress Legislature Parties in the various state assemblies, and their chairperson is usually the party’s nominee for Chief Ministership.

The All India Congress Committee is formed of delegates sent from the PCCs around the country. The delegates elect various Congress committees, including the Congress Working Committee, which consists of senior party leaders and office bearers, and takes all important executive and political decisions.

The President of the Indian National Congress is in effect the party’s national leader, head of the organization, head of the Working Committee and all chief Congress committees, chief spokesman and the Congress choice to become the Prime Minister of India.

Constitutionally, the president is to be elected by the vote of the PCCs and members of the AICC. However, this procedure has often been by-passed by the Working Committee, choosing to elect its own candidate as an emergency measure.

The Congress Parliamentary Party is the group of elected MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Their elected chairperson is the leader of the majority, and supposed to be the Prime Minister. However, there have been notable exceptions.

List of presidents of the Party

Name of President Life Span Year of Presidency Place of Conference
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee December 29, 1844- 1906 1885 Bombay
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1825- 1917 1886 Calcutta
Badruddin Tyabji October 10, 1844- 1906 1887 Madras
George Yule 1829- 1892 1888 Allahabad
Sir William Wedderburn 1838- 1918 1889 Bombay
Sir Pherozeshah Mehta August 4, 1845- 1915 1890 Calcutta
P. Ananda Charlu August, 1843- 1908 1891 Nagpur
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee December 29, 1844- 1906 1892 Allahabad
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1848- 1925 1893 Lahore
Alfred Webb 1834- 1908 1894 Madras
Surendranath Banerjea November 10, 1848- 1925 1895 Poona
Rahimtulla M. Sayani April 5, 1847- 1902 1896 Calcuta
Sir C. Sankaran Nair July 11, 1857- 1934 1897 Amraoti
Ananda Mohan Bose September 23, 1847- 1906 1898 Madras
Romesh Chunder Dutt August 13, 1848- 1909 1899 Lucknow
Sir Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar December 2, 1855- 1923 1900 Lahore
Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha August 2, 1844- 1936 1901 Calcutta
Surendranath Banerjea November 10, 1825- 1917 1902 Ahmedabad
Lalmohan Ghosh 1848- 1909 1903 Madras
Sir Henry Cotton 1845- 1915 1904 Bombay
Gopal Krishna Gokhale May 9, 1866- 1915 1905 Benares
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1825- 1917 1906 Calcutta
Rashbihari Ghosh December 23, 1845- 1921 1907 Surat
Rashbihari Ghosh December 23, 1845- 1921 1908 Madras
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1909 Lahore
Sir William Wedderburn 1838- 1918 1910 Allahabad
Pandit Bishan Narayan Dar 1864- 1916 1911 Calcutta
Rao Bahadur Raghunath Narasinha Mudholkar 1857- 1921 1912 Bankipur
Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur ?- 1919 1913 Karachi
Bhupendra Nath Bose 1859- 1924 1914 Madras
Lord Satyendra Prasanna Sinha March, 1863- 1928 1915 Bombay
Ambica Charan Mazumdar 1850- 1922 1916 Lucknow
Annie Besant October 1, 1847- 1933 1917 Calcutta
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1918 Delhi
Syed Hasan Imam August 31, 1871- 1933 1918 Bombay (Special Session)
Pandit Motilal Nehru May 6, 1861- February 6, 1931 1919 Amritsar
Lala Lajpat Rai January 28, 1865- November 17, 1928 1920 Calcutta (Special Session)
C. Vijayaraghavachariar 1852- April 19, 1944 1920 Nagpur
Hakim Ajmal Khan 1863- December 29, 1927 1921 Ahmedabad
Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das November 5, 1870- June 16, 1925 1922 Gaya
Maulana Mohammad Ali December 10, 1878- January 4, 1931 1923 Kakinada
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888- February 22, 1958 1923 Delhi (Special Session)
Mahatma Gandhi October 2, 1869- January 30, 1948 1924 Belgaum
Sarojini Naidu February 13, 1879- March 2, 1949 1925 Kanpur
S. Srinivasa Iyengar September 11, 1874- May 19, 1941 1926 Gauhati
Dr. M A Ansari December 25, 1880- May 10, 1936 1927 Madras
Pandit Motilal Nehru May 6, 1861- February 6, 1931 1928 Calcutta
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1929 & 30 Lahore
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel October 31, 1875- December 15, 1950 1931 Karachi
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1932 Delhi
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1933 Calcutta
Nellie Sen Gupta 1886- 1973 1933 Calcutta
Dr. Rajendra Prasad December 3, 1884- February 28, 1963 1934 & 35 Bombay
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1936 Lucknow
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1936& 37 Faizpur
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose January 23, 1897- August 18, 1945? 1938 Haripura
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose January 23, 1897- August 18, 1945? 1939 Tripuri
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888- February 22, 1958 1940-46 Ramgarh
Acharya J.B. Kripalani 1888- March 19, 1982 1947 ?
Dr Pattabhi Sitaraimayya December 24, 1880- December 17, 1959 1948 & 49 Jaipur
Purushottam Das Tandon August 1, 1882- July 1, 1961 1950 Nasik
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1951 & 52 New Delhi
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1953 Hyderabad
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1954 Calcutta
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1955 Avadi
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1956 Amritsar
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1957 Indore
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1958 Gauhati
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1959 Nagpur
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1959 New Delhi
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1960 Bangalore
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1961 Bhavnagar
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1962 & 63 Patna
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- 1975 1964 Bhubaneswar
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- 1975 1965 Durgapur
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- 1975 1966 & 67 Jaipur
S. Nijalingappa December 10, 1902- August 9, 2000 1968 Hyderabad
S. Nijalingappa December 10, 1902- August 9, 2000 1969 Faridabad
Jagjivan Ram April 5, 1908- July 6, 1986 1970 & 71 Bombay
Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma August 19, 1918- December 26, 1999 1972- 74 Calcutta
Dev Kanta Borooah February 22, 1914- 1997 1975- 77 Chandigarh
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1978- 83 New Delhi
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1983 -84 Calcutta
Rajiv Gandhi August 20, 1944- May 21, 1991 1985 -91 Bombay
P. V. Narasimha Rao June 28, 1921- December 23, 2004 1992 -96 Tirupati
Sitaram Kesri November, 1919- October 24, 2000 1997 -98 Calcutta
Sonia Gandhi December 9, 1946- 1998 -Incumbent ?
Indian National Congress

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

manse.jpg raj1.jpgraj2.jpgenginefullyx6.jpg

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र नवनिर्माण सेना, English: Maharashtra New Beginning Army) is a regional political party operative in Maharashtra, India. It was founded on the 9th of March 2006 in Mumbai.Founder

The party was founded by Raj Thackeray, nephew of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. Raj broke away from his uncle’s party in January 2006 and announced his intention to start a new political party. The reason given by him for breaking away from the Shiv Sena was that the latter was “run by petty clerks” because of which it had “fallen from its former glory”.

Foundation Ceremony

Raj paid a visit to the famed Siddhivinayak Temple on the morning of 9th March. That evening he held a meeting at the Y. B Chavan Centre, where he announced the name of his party and unfurled its blue, saffron and green coloured flag. The meeting was attended by a large number of Raj’s supporters, other breakaway Shiv Sainiks and mediapersons.

Relations with the Sena

Raj has stated that he does not want to have hostilities with his uncle who “was, is and always will be {his} mentor”. However with Sena insiders claiming that more Sainiks wanted to break away from Balasaheb’s “ailing” party, tensions between Raj and his uncle seem inevitable.

Policies

Raj has said he will reveal more about his parties policies in the coming weeks. He has already said that his party’s motto will be I am of Maharashtra, Maharashtra is mine. Critics say this reflects the Thackeray family’s regionalistic attitude and their communal Hindutva ideology. Many differ as Raj has from start declared his party MNS to be a secular political party which accepts anyone and everyone who says Maharashtra belongs to them and they belong to Maharashtra. The secular reference is ironic in largely since Raj Thackeray has always been viewed as a long time hardliner in the Shiv Sena, relative to his cousin and current working president Udhav Thackeray.

Symbol:

The State Election Commission has allotted three different election symbols for the 222 MONS candidates who are contesting in the BMC polls to be held from February 1.

While 215 candidates in the city have been given the railway engine as their election symbol, the seven remaining candidates have been allotted other symbols. Candidates from Mulund will have to contest with the cup and saucer as their symbol, while candidates contesting from the Eastern suburbs of Ramabainagar, Kamrajnagar and Subhashnagar have received the slate as their election symbol.

Spokeperson
Shrish Parkar 982189775
Nitin Sardesai 9820063941
Rajendra Lad Leader of House in BMC 9821632347
 

Office of MNS 011 2433699/ 3799/3599
 

Shiv-Sena

Shiv Sena (Devanāgarī: शिव सेना Śīv Senā, meaning Army of Shiva, referring to Shivaji) is a right-wing political party in India founded on June 19, 1966 by Bal Thackeray, who is currently the president of the party. The Sena’s ideology is based on the concepts of ‘Bhumiputra’ (Marathi for “Sons of Soil”) and Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. The ‘Bhumiputra’ ideology refers to the Shiv Sena’s belief that Maharashtrians deserve more rights in Maharashtra than those who are not from Maharashtra.[1] However, in recent times, the Sena has laid more emphasis on Hindutva. In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004), it had 15 (out of 545) members. During that period, the party was part of the government coalition at the national level. Manohar Joshi, a Shiv Sainik, was the Speaker of Lok Sabha 2002-2004.

Shiv Sena has its employment cell Shiv Udyog Sena. Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (“Indian Worker’s Army”), a labour union, is affiliated to the Shiv Sena. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (“All India Students’ Army”) is the student wing of Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena

Origins of the Shiv Sena

Part of a series on
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Shiv Sena poster in Kolkata

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Shiv Sena poster in Kolkata

After the incorporation of the Bombay presidency in the Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra, Mumbai gained the status of economic capital of India and attracted a large number of migrants from other states. Within a short period of time, non-Maharashtrians, especially people belonging to the Gujarati and Marwari communities, owned the majority of the industry and trade in the city.[2]. Moreover, a large number people from South Indian migrated to Mumbai during this period and soon filled a number of white-collar jobs. The Shiv Sena was thus born out of a feeling of resentment about the ‘marginilization’ of the native Marathi people in their own state by people who had migrated from other states.[3] The Shiv Sena especially attracted a large number of disgruntled and often unemployed Maharashtrian youth, who were pulled towards Thackeray’s charged anti-migrant oratory[1].

Shift to Hindutva and Alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party

The Sena started placing more weight on the Hindutva ideology in the 1970s as the hallmark ‘sons of the soil’ cause was weakening.[1] With the shift to Hindutva, Thackeray increasingly made some controversial moves against Muslims and neighboring Pakistan.

The party has ruled the state in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The SS-BJP did however lose the 2004 state assembly election. The Sena is now the main opposition party in the state. The BJP-SS combine governs the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Traditionally the main strongholds of SS have been Mumbai and the Konkan coastal areas. However, in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections the result was reversed. The Shiv Sena made inroads in the interior parts of the state, while suffering losses in Mumbai.

Party Structure

As the Pramukh (Chief) of the party Bal Thackeray takes all major decisions, and has claimed that he ran the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government of 1995 to 1999 with what he called a ‘remote control.’ Activists and members of the Shiv Sena call themselves Shiv Sainiks, and carry out most of the party’s grassroot work. In recent times, Thackeray does not concern himself with day-to-day activities of the party, which is run by his youngest son Uddhav Thackeray.

The recently refurbished Sena Bhavan located in the Dadar locality in Mumbai has served as the headquarters of the Sena since 1976.[4] The Sena’s shakhas (local offices) spread throughout the state of Maharashtra as well as in selected locations in other states decide upon most of the local issues in their particular cities or towns.[5]

Achievements of the Shiv Sena

Claims of benefits to Maharashtrians

Supporters of the Sena have claimed that the party has benefited the Marathi Manus (Marathi man) in Mumbai[6], especially in the public sector.[2] However, the Sena has allegedly done little to solve the problem of unemployment facing a large proportion of Maharashtrian youth during its tenure, in contradiction to its ideological foundation of ‘sons of the soil.’[7]

Dharavi emancipation

The Sena claims to have played a central role in the emancipation of 500,000 slum dwellers in the Dharavi area of Mumbai, the largest slum in Asia. [8] However, the state’s policy of giving free houses to slum dwellers has been mired in controversy ever since it was introduced by the Shiv Sena-BJP government a decade ago [2] [9].

Improvements in infrastructure

In addition, the Sena has been active in trying to improve infrastructure in Maharashtra, particularly in the financial capital of Mumbai. Nearly 40 flyovers in Mumbai and the Mumbai-Pune Expressway were constructed under the Shiv Sena administration, which led to a significant infrastructural boom in Mumbai. While successive State governments have been guilty of neglecting Mumbai’s transport problems, the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government drastically altered the course. Moreover, by initiating a range of road schemes, the Sena unequivocally opted for private, motorised transport in preference to public transport.[10]

These moves have been a crucial factor in its increasing popularity within India and the promises of further improvement have boosted the Shiv Sena’s campaigns.

Controversial activities of the Shiv Sena

The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page.

Bhumiputra campaign

During its early years, the Sena occassionally resorted to violence and threats against people belonging to other Indian communities as part of its ‘sons of the soil’ ideology. In the early years of the Sena, the party’s widely circulated Marathi language-weekly Marmik was instrumental in inflamming the anti-migrant sentiment in Mumbai’s Maharashtrians.[11] Thackeray, then a cartoonist for the Free Press journal, initially targeted the growing number of South Indians by inflammatory slogans like “lungi hatao pungi bajao” (referring to the lungi, a Marathi word for the traditional men’s dress in South India)[1], and “yendu gundu” (a derogatory description of the Dravidian languages spoken by the people from South India).[12] During this period, Shiv Sainiks launched a string of attacks on the South-Indian owned Udupi restaurants that were becoming popular in Mumbai.[13] In a similar manner, Thackeray later targeted Gujaratis, Marwaris, Biharis, and people from North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh (‘UPites’) through his speeches.[14] Moreover, Thackeray threatened a number of local industrialists and businessmen with action unless they offered preferential employment to Maharashtrian people.The Sena thus succeeded in fulfilling a critical economic need of the Maharashtrians and in return was supported by a solid socio-political vote-bank.Industrialists rarely objected to the Sena’s clout—since Sena leader Thackeray’s draconian control over the employees would ensure a peaceful work environment [2].

Shiv Sainiks burn Valentine's Day cards in Kolkata to protest 'vulgar' western influences on Hindu culture

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Shiv Sainiks burn Valentine’s Day cards in Kolkata to protest ‘vulgar’ western influences on Hindu culture

Party violence

The Sena is has been accused of being involved in coordinated political violence in order to propagate its ideologies and attack opposing ideologies. For this reason, it has sometimes been described as a militant right-wing group.

In the 1970s, Shiv Sena members were accused as responsible for killing Krishna Desai, CPI MLA from the Parel neighbourhood in Central Mumbai. However, the attackers were not indicted for murder.[15] On February 8, 2006, Sena workers, led allegedly by Sena’s student wing, attacked the office of the Zee TV channel, ransacking and damaging the office. The attack came in response to a satirical skit titled ‘Kaka mala Vachva’ ( Marathi for ‘Uncle, protect me’), staged during the awards function hosted by the channel at the Bandra-Kurla complex. The skit was reportedly a comment on the power tussle within the Thackeray family, which ultimately resulted in the exit of Thackeray’s nephew Raj from the party some time ago.[16]

In addition to its campaign against non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena protests have been known to break down into violence and force in public in the name of protecting Hindutva from what it deems as corrupting western influences. The party has been involved in organized protests, pickets, market shutdowns and strikes that have been known to degenerate into violent clashes and in some instances riots. For instance, Shiv Sena activists have attacked shops in Mumbai selling gifts for Valentine’s Day as part of the party’s campaign against ‘vulgar’ western influences on youth.[17] Likewise, in 1998, Shiv Sainiks attacked movie theatres in Mumbai screening director Deepa Mehta’s Fire, a highly controversial film based on a lesbian theme on the grounds that such films violated Hindu ethos and were immoral for Hindus to watch. As a result, the screening of the movie was withdrawn. Later, members of the Sena’s Varanasi branch launched aggressive protests against the filming of Mehta’s Water, on the grounds that such films were made with the designs of intentionally defaming Hinduism by portraying Varanasi and other holy cities in an innacurate and negative light.[18] As a result of the protests, the location for shooting the film was shifted to the neighbouring Sri Lanka.[19]

Allegations of violence against Muslims

The Shiv Sena has also been accused of orchestrating violence against Muslims. The Sena is widely alleged to have played an active role in the riots in Mumbai following the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 in the north-Indian holy city of Ayodhya. On 23 January 1993, the then Congress-led Government of Maharashtra appointed Justice B.N. Srikrishna (then a sitting Judge of the Bombay High Court) to head a one-man commission with the task of investigating the riots. The Commission indicted the Sena for its direct involvement in coordinating the anti-Muslim riots, and accused Thackeray of “commanding his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims.”[20] However, Thackeray was absolved of all criminal charges in July 2000 after seven years of judicial proceedings.[21]

Additionally, as part of their efforts to hamper any collaboration between India and the Muslim dominated Pakistan, Shiv Sainiks have resorted to damaging cricket pitchs in stadiums where the Indian and Pakistani cricket team were scheduled to play. The two most prominent instances of the Sena’s targeting pitches are the destruction of the pitch at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium in 1991 and the vandalizing of the Feroz Shah Kotla Grounds pitch in national capital Delhi in 1999.[22] The Sena orchestrated these activities in an atmosphere of growing tensions between the two nations.

Claims of tempered stance

In an interview in 1998, Thackeray claims to have tempered his stance on many issues that the Shiv Sena had with Muslims, particularly regarding the Babri Mosque or Ramjanmabhoomi issue [23], saying: “We must look after the Muslims and treat them as part of us.” In addition, some members of the Sena claim that the party does not discriminate on the basis of religion and is based on pure nationalism.[24]

Meenatai desecration protests

On July 9, 2006, after some unidentified miscreants desecrated the statue of Meenatai (the late wife of Bal Thackeray), Shiv Sainiks blocked roads at Dadar in central Mumbai and damaged a police outpost[25], and later launched statewide protests mired with isolated incidences of violence in Nagpur, Pune, Nashik and other cities in Maharashtra.[26]

Shiv Sena & MNS Clashes

On October 10, 2006 clashes erupted between supporters of Shiv Sena and Maharastra Navnirman Sena headed by Raj Thackery. It was alleged that workers of MNS had tore the posters bearing the photographs of Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackrey near the SIES college in Mumbai. Later as retaliation it was alleged that Shiv Sena workers brought down the hoardings with Raj Thackrey’s photo near the Sena Bhavan at Dadar.

As the news spread about the incident groups gathered near the Sena Bhavan and started pelting stones at each other. In this incident a policeman was injured and many supporters of both parties were injured. To restore normalcy in the situation the police fired tear gas shells at the mob.

Normalcy was eventually restored following police action and the appearance of Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin Raj Thackeray on the spot. Uddhav appealed to Sena workers to go back home [27].He said:

“The police will take necessary action. This is happening because many people are joining us from MNS. The defections have started and that is why they are resorting to such actions”[28].

The division chief of the Shiv Sena Milind Vaidya said that they had lodged a complaint with the local police against an MNS worker who was involved in the oncident. MNS general secretary Pravin Darekar, however, pinned the cause down to local elections in the SIES college. He alleges that the Sena is concerned about losing their hold over the colleges and that is why they are trying to color the issue, adding that the Sena’s allegations had no merit. Raj Thackeray asserts that MNS could not have vandalized the pictures, seeing as how he and his members revere Bal Thackeray[29].

Shiv Sena in literature

The novelist V. S. Naipaul mentioned the Shiv Sena in his book India: A Wounded Civilization: “There was one portrait. And interestingly, it was not of the leader of the Shiv Sena or of Shivaji, the Sena’s warrior god, but of the long-dead Dr. Ambedkar (…) Popular-and near-ecstatic-movements like the Shiv Sena ritualize many different needs. The Sena here, honouring an angry and (for all his eminence) defeated man, seemed quite different from the Sena the newspapers wrote about.”[30]

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