A Political Timeline of Shiv Sena: Tracing The Rise, Reign And Rupture

Founded in 1966, by Balasaheb Thackeray in Mumbai, with the aim of advocating for the rights and interests of the Marathi-speaking population, Shiv Sena finds itself spilt with different ideals and alliances.

Manoj Patil/Hindustan Times Via Getty Images
Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray opens the campaign of the BMC polls for the party at Goregaon on December 27, 2006 in Mumbai, India. For the first time Thackeray delivered a speech by sitting down Photo: Manoj Patil/Hindustan Times Via Getty Images

The Shiv Sena rose from a parochial Marathi movement to become a major force, but was also embroiled in controversies like the Babri demolition and accusations of promoting divisive politics. Its recent split and loss of party name/symbol marks a significant downfall. The party has consistently performed well in elections in Mumbai, often winning a significant number of seats in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The party's stronghold in Mumbai has been a crucial factor in its overall political influence in Maharashtra.

Outlook looks at the timeline of the party. It highlights the key milestones and developments in the history of Shiv Sena from its inception to the present day.

1966: Shiv Sena was founded on June 19, 1966, by Balasaheb Thackeray in Mumbai, Maharashtra, with the aim of advocating for the rights and interests of the Marathi-speaking population, especially in Mumbai.

1970s: Expanded base in Maharashtra through militant activism for Marathi causes like language and jobs.

1984: Contested first Lok Sabha elections, won 1 seat.

1989: Supported the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

1990: Emerged as a major opposition party in Maharashtra Assembly with 52 seats.

1992: Shiv Sena members played a key role in the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, triggering nationwide riots. 

1995: Formed an alliance with BJP and came to power in Maharashtra for the first time. Shiv Sena won the state elections in Maharashtra and formed the government with Bal Thackeray's close aide Manohar Joshi as the Chief Minister. This marked the first time Shiv Sena held power in the state.

1998-2014: Part of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance governments at the Center.

1999: Manohar Joshi, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, faced allegations of inciting violence against Muslims during the 1992-1993 Mumbai riots along with Bal Thackeray, as per the Srikrishna Commission Report ordered by the Indian government. However, when part of the BJP-Shiv Sena government, Joshi dismissed the report as "anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim and biased", refusing to adopt its recommendations. His tenure was further marred by a controversy where he permitted the release of land reserved for a school in Pune to a builder with ties to his son-in-law, Girish Vyas. Vyas subsequently built a housing complex named Sundew on that land in 1998. Sustained legal efforts by RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar over this questionable land deal eventually led to Joshi's resignation as Chief Minister in January 1999, amid allegations of impropriety and favoritism. Narayan Rane took oath as the New Chief Minister of the state.

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2003: Bal Thackeray's nephew Raj Thackeray broke away and formed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

2019: Broke alliance with BJP after assembly polls over power-sharing. Formed govt with NCP and Congress. Despite ideological differences, Shiv Sena successfully formed a coalition government with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian National Congress in Maharashtra. This marked a significant political achievement for the party, as Uddhav Thackeray assumed the Chief Ministerial position and led the state government.

2022: Party split as Eknath Shinde rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray, joined hands with BJP to become CM.

2023: Election Commission allotted Shiv Sena name and symbol to Shinde faction, major setback for Uddhav.