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India

Shiv Sena Crisis A Reminder Of Rebellions That Broke Up TDS, AIADMK

The mutiny staged by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who claims to have the support of 46 party MLAs, reminds of previous instances when parties were broken up into factions.

Eknath Shinde's supporters
Supporters of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde outside his residence, in Thane, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: As Maharashtra witnesses a political crisis driven by rebellion within the ruling Shiv Sena, while many have been left shocked, it is not the first-of-a-kind revolt within a party. The mutiny staged by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who claims to have the support of 46 party MLAs, reminds of previous instances when parties were broken up into factions.

In September 1995, in a similar fashion as today, the then TDP broke away and the majority of the MLAs sided with the then Finance Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The Naidu-led group of TDP was considered as the main faction, while party patron N T Rama Rao and a handful of MLAs supporting him came to be called TDP(NTR).

The Shiv Sena also appears to be heading in a similar direction. The reason for break up of TDP in 1995 was the interference of Lakshmi Parvathi, the second wife of NTR. In Shiv Sena’s case, the reason is the party’s decision to ditch old ally BJP and join hands with NCP and Congress to form a coalition government of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). While the coalition government came into being in 2019, gradually sidelined senior leader Eknath Shinde’s dissent grew over the years, leading to the rebellion on June 21, 2022.

AIADMK: Succession Crisis (December 25, 1987 – February 6, 1989)

Following former Tamil Nadu chief minister M G Ramachandran’s death, his wife, actress-turned-politician V N Janaki Ramachandran rose to the party’s leadership with the support of R M Veerappan and 98 MLAs. She led the government for 23 days as the state’s first female chief minister from January 7, 1988, until the state Assembly was suspended on January 30, 1988, and President’s rule was imposed.

The party began to crumble due to infighting and broke into two factions, one under Janaki Ramachandran and the other under J Jayalalithaa, an associate of MGR. Jayalalithaa was another film actress-turned-politician who had starred alongside MGR, who was also an actor and filmmaker.

The 1989 Assembly election saw the DMK regain power after 12 years in the Opposition with M Karunanidhi returning as the chief minister for the third time.

AIADMK, due to its split, suffered heavily in the election, with the Janaki Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa factions winning only 2 and 27 seats respectively. Following AIADMK’s rout in the election, the factions led by Jayalalithaa and Janaki Ramachandran merged under the former’s leadership.

The DMK government was dismissed in 1991 by the Central government headed by then prime minister Chandra Shekhar, an ally of the AIADMK at that time, on charges that the constitutional machinery in the state had broken down.