While the Congress party is struggling with the issue of leadership at the national level, the BJP has already started preparation for Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand Assembly elections which are scheduled to take place later this year. The BJP president Amit Shah met the core group members from Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand on Sunday. The BJP is in power in all three states.
According to sources, Amit Shah first held a meeting with the core group of Haryana. After that, he met Jharkhand’s core group. Then he held key discussions on Maharashtra Assembly elections with the core group members from the state. It is believed that Amit Shah chalked out strategies for the upcoming three assembly elections. The meeting took place in the BJP head office in Delhi. After registering a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the party hopes to repeat its performances in these states, too. Amit Shah does not want to take any chance. The meeting with core groups of Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand sends a clear message that he is not in a mood to take things lightly.
On being asked about BJP’s preparations and strategies in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections, the party spokesperson Prof. Suhas Farande told Afternoon Voice, “We are confident of winning the ensuing assembly elections again. Like the Modi government in the country, CM Devendra Fadnavis has also worked in Maharashtra. He followed the slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ in true sense. People of Maharashtra are with the BJP. Therefore, the BJP government will be re-elected in the state.”
“The BJP Maharashtra core group, including CM Fadnavis, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, and Vijay Puranik met the party president Amit Shah in New Delhi to discuss the upcoming Assembly elections. We are going to fight the elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena. The seat sharing between both the parties is yet to be finalized,” he added.
Thus, the BJP is set to contest the Assembly elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. It is notable that in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 of the 48 seats in the state. BJP won 23 seats and its ally Shiv Sena won 18 seats. Early this month, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said that Devendra Fadnavis is the “natural choice” of the people, the BJP and the Shiv Sena for the top post again. He said that the two parties would contest 135 seats each in the 288-member House, and leave 18 seats for other allies.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Every party prepares for the elections according to its strategy and we also do the same. The Congress party chief has made it clear that the party will fight the Assembly elections in alliance with the NCP. Therefore, there is no meaning of some Congress workers’ anger against the NCP.”
It is remarkable that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday met BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the possibility of a State Cabinet expansion and appointment of new State and Mumbai unit chiefs of the party. He also discussed a range of issues related to the state, including the drought situation in the state.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Ashish Jaiswal said, “We are ready for the Assembly elections any time. The Shiv Sena’s preparation for the election goes throughout the year. The party leadership will take a final decision on the seat-sharing with the BJP.”
According to the sources, the top leadership of the state and the Centre are holding extensive discussions to carefully weigh the pros and cons before carrying out the changes in the Cabinet and state unit. They will take every decision keeping in mind the crucial October Assembly elections. The Cabinet reshuffle and expansion and organisational overhaul will be interlinked. The reshuffle and expansion will be to accommodate new entrants who have quit Congress-NCP to join BJP. Among the names likely to find a place in the Cabinet are former Congress and Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former NCP leader Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil and former NCP minister Jaydutt Kshirsagar, who joined the Shiv Sena last month, and former Congress MLA Abdul Sattar.
In Maharashtra, the main fight of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine. However, both parties suffered severe debacle in the Lok Sabha polls. Now they are facing after-shocks, too. The Congress workers expressed their ire against NCP. The Congress workers urged the state leadership to go solo in the upcoming assembly elections this year. The common complaint from the workers was that the NCP did not help the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections. The workers also requested the party leadership of considering having a pre-poll alliance with Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) in the place of the NCP.