"What else could they have done?" An excellent question indeed.
Excellent answer: they could have done a lot of things. After all, over the years this party has built up an enviable record of achievements worthy of emulation.
Consider. In 1995, the great state of Maharashtra gave itself a Shiv Sena Chief Minister, Manohar Joshi. In 1996, his Government held a celebration to mark a year in office. And what did Joshi proclaim was his Government's "greatest achievement" in that one year?
This: the renaming of Bombay to Mumbai.
In 1991, the Pakistan cricket team was scheduled to come to India. One match was scheduled for Bombay, at the Wankhede stadium. The Shiv Sena didn't care for this, so one night -- do this by day when there are people who might watch? Not on your life -- they sneaked into the stadium, dug up the pitch and poured oil in. Tour cancelled.
There was a public meeting soon after to -- you're going to laugh and laugh -- actually protest this achievement. The Shiv Sena assaulted people leaving the meeting, opening a crack on the head of a woman journalist. (Didn't pour oil in, though).
In 1997, a crack team of partymen rampaged through the Canossa girls' school in Mahim, terrorising students and teachers.
In 1999, another crack team ran wild in the BCCI office, destroying Indian cricket trophies.
In 2000, yet another crack team destroyed an entire hospital in Thane, chasing seriously ill patients through the corridors.
There's more. Trust me, there's more. Yet I think that in any such recounting of achievement, first prize has got to go to one Mohan Rawale.
Rawale was the party's MP from central Bombay. During his campaign for re-election in 1996, a newspaper interviewed him about his record as a parliamentarian. He spoke with fond nostalgia about one parliamentary day in 1992:
- I ran into the well of the [Lok Sabha] screaming. I managed to stop the proceedings for a full 16 minutes. That, I think, was my greatest achievement.
It's lucky he didn't stop at 15 minutes.
Also, eat your heart out, one Manohar Joshi.