With elections in Maharashtra just a month away, the war of words between long-time allies BJP and Shiv Sena over the chief ministerial candidate has intensified. Both party’s members are fighting that the CM will be from their party. A day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray delivered a sharp warning to the BJP about ‘lust for power,’ Sena MP Sanjay Raut also echoed that the chief minister would only be from the Shiv Sena. The Congress-NCP, though rattled and demoralised by the huge defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, is a daunting alliance having won three successive terms. Assembly elections are a different ball game and it all depends on who is projected as a CM nominee and distribution of tickets to suitable candidates. After the death of Gopinath Munde, the BJP doesn’t have a suitable non-brahmin leader who can be projected as a CM nominee. Both BJP and Shiv Sena want to win. Shiv Sena can be defeated, as it already rules in three Municipal Corporations in the Mumbai region and anti-incumbency may be the factor for it. This will not be an easy job for Uddhav to keep his party intact after 4 consecutive losses. BJP will survive. BJP needs to win desperately maximum seats, as it paves way for having a majority in the Rajya Sabha. A defeat in assembly elections would dent Modi’s image. As such, contrary to the presumed perception, BJP will have to concede once again to the dominance of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra politics.
Shiv Sena with its illogical ideas is known as hardliners and somewhat autocratic. It gives a feeling that they do not care about individual and his rights in the constitution. I hope, people of Maharashtra will show them that they will be junior in this alliance with their autocratic and hardliner thinking. It is obvious that BJP will try to push for supremacy in Maharashtra. Let us not forget that the alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP is an unprincipled alliance like Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. In case of the latter somehow it has survived, as the two political parties have been able to retain power in Maharashtra for 15 years. The toughest test for Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will be smooth seat sharing for the Assembly election. Tough bargaining is on cards when seat sharing talks will begin between Shiv Sena, BJP and other alliance parties. Leaders of two major parties are expected to adopt a practical approach. Shiv Sena’s performance in the Municipal Corporation speaks volumes of its penchant for corruption masked by its inefficiency in administration.
In fact, it is high time that the BJP should move away from the Sena and fight the assembly election alone without any alliance. If BJP continues its alliance with the Sena, then all the black deeds of the Sena will also stick with them. With the Modi wave on the high, it is actually a time to come out of ‘compulsion’ alliance. If the Sena pulls out of the NDA, it will not make any difference to the NDA.
Anyways, there was lots of war of words between the two groups on social media; The BJP immediately lashed back calling Raut a small leader and saying that there would be a BJP-led government in the state. And Sena supporters were attacking BJP for failing to come to power, without them. After scoring a big victory in Maharashtra in the national election, the two parties have been wrangling over a pact for the state polls scheduled for October 15. The BJP wants to contest a greater share of the state’s 288 seats, crediting the May election verdict to a wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It also wants the Sena to accommodate other allies from its share of seats. The BJP’s refusal to compromise telegraphs the party’s worry that conceding the Sena’s demands could mean giving up its claim on the Chief Minister’s post. The Congress-NCP alliance, which has governed Maharashtra since 1999, won only six seats.
Modi will be Bharatiya Janata Party’s star campaigner in Haryana and Maharashtra which are going to the polls on October 15. The party will showcase the “Gujarat model of governance” as part of the vigorous campaign it plans to mount to dislodge the Congress-led governments in both the States. The Congress has been in power in Haryana for the past 10 years and in Maharashtra the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance has had a 15-year-long stint. While banking on the Modi factor, the BJP campaign will be woven around issues of governance and development, both on the social media as well as on the ground. The anti-incumbency factor and scams will be played up against the Congress as opposed to the 100 days rule of the NDA which shows the Central government as having come out of the UPA’s “policy paralysis.” The mood in the party is upbeat in view of the fact that just a little over three months ago, the BJP bagged seven of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana.
The Modi wave in the Lok Sabha polls had reduced the Congress party to the worst performance in its history in the crucial state of Maharashtra. As the State heads for the Assembly polls, the question is whether there will be a sequel to the saffron surge in this 288-seat state. The odds are certainly stacked against the Congress-NCP. Besides the Modi factor, the alliance is shackled by major anti-incumbency after 15 consecutive years in power. Besides, the Congress-NCP alliance faces grave corruption charges which the Opposition has made a campaign issue accusing the parties of “scams worth Rs. 11.88 lakh crore.” The Adarsh scam had cost former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan his post while the multicrore irrigation scam tainted Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and State NCP President Sunil Tatkare. The Shiv Sena-BJP and four smaller parties which form the Mahayuti face the challenge of capitalising on these weaknesses. Besides, there are some concerns about the extent to which the Modi magic will continue. The BJP will have to overcome the absence of mass leader Gopinath Munde in the campaign. However, it has in its store, Modi as a campaigner and Mr. Shah’s strategising which saw the BJP sweep Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls.
This election is also a crucial test for Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The party was a game-changer in the 2009 elections, cutting dramatically into saffron votes, but it drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections. Since then Mr. Thackeray first announced he would contest the Lok Sabha polls but later said he was undecided. With the party showing no signs of a concrete plan yet, it faces a battle for its very survival this election. Let’s see how Maharashtra voters will deal with the situations.