Supporters of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde outside his residence in Thane, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (PTI photo)
New Delhi: As Maharashtra has seen an insurgency-driven political crisis within the ruling Shiv Sena, while many are left to perplexity, this is not the first rebellion within a party. The rebellion by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who claims to have the support of 46 of the party’s MLAs, is reminiscent of past instances when parties were split into factions.
In September 1995, just like today, the then TDP broke up and most of the MLAs sided with the then Finance Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The Naidu-led group of the TDP was considered the main faction, while party patriarch NT Rama Rao and a handful of MLAs who supported him came to be called the TDP (NTR).
Shiv Sena also seems to be moving in the same direction. The reason for the breakup of TDP in 1995 was the interference of NTR’s second wife Lakshmi Parvati. In the case of Shiv Sena, the reason for this is the party’s decision to leave the old ally BJP and form a coalition government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). While the coalition government came into existence in 2019, the dissent of senior leader Eknath Shinde was gradually sidelined, leading to a rebellion on June 21, 2022.
AIADMK: Succession Crisis (December 25, 1987 – February 6, 1989)
Following the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, his wife, actress-turned-politician VN Janaki Ramachandran, led the party in support of RM Veerappan and 98 MLAs. She led the government for 23 days as the state’s first woman chief minister from January 7, 1988, until the state assembly was suspended and President’s Rule was imposed on January 30, 1988.
The party began to crumble due to infighting and split into two factions, one under Janaki Ramachandran and the other under MGR’s ally J Jayalalithaa. Another film actress turned politician, Jayalalithaa, starred with MGR, who was also an actor and film producer.
In the 1989 assembly elections, the DMK returned to power after 12 years in the opposition and M Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister for the third time.
The AIADMK, due to its split, suffered heavy losses in the elections, with the Janaki Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa factions winning only 2 and 27 seats respectively. After the AIADMK’s defeat in the elections, the factions led by Jayalalithaa and Janaki Ramachandran merged with the former’s leadership.
The DMK government was dismissed in 1991 by the central government led by then Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, who was then an ally of the AIADMK, on allegations that the constitutional machinery in the state was broken.