In Maha, BJP ‘loses’ face, but not ready to give up

NEW DELHI: With Maharashtra springing new surprises and twists every hour, it is hard to foretell what will happen next.

In Maha, BJP ‘loses’ face, but not ready to give up

Stepping aside: Devendra Fadnavis

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26

With Maharashtra springing new surprises and twists every hour, it is hard to foretell what will happen next. But as things stand today, the BJP appears to have lost not just a big state, but also face — something that may have some implications in poll-bound Jharkhand and Karnataka where the crucial bypolls are slated for December 5.

Despite the “setback”, top sources in the BJP say, “We have not given up.” Perhaps, they are hoping for a “Karnataka-like” situation to “soon develop in Maharashtra”. To a question on today’s developments, a senior BJP leader said, “Anything can happen (in politics). We took a decision, the situation was such…everything will be good.”

But murmurs have started over “wrong distribution of tickets in Maharashtra and precedence to outsiders from the NCP and the Congress” etc. “This is not how the expansion of the party should be happening,” is also being said.

The emergence of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar as the new “Renaissance Man” against BJP’s “Chanakya” Amit Shah is something the BJP had neither anticipated nor bargained for. The BJP lost the fight in the “regional pride” pitch of the NCP and the Shiv Sena and the same can be anticipated in other parts as well.

The fact is the BJP with 105 seats rejected the power-sharing offer of the Shiv Sena with 56 seats, forcing it to turn to its arch-rivals NCP (54 seats) and Congress (44 seats). Today, it is cutting a lonely figure in the state that sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Analysts say had it not been for NCP and Congress turncoats, the BJP would have won much less. There are talks about how the “ED probe” played a big role in Sharad Pawar supporting Sena chief Uddhav Thackaray to take on the “might of Modi-Shah”.

Though the BJP believes the coming together of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress “will not last”, it may have much more to worry if they actually manage to pull through in Maharashtra. While the BJP waits for the “opportunistic alliance” to break, analysts believe the man behind the almost impossible effort—Sharad Pawar—will ensure that the “Maha Vikas Aghadi” not just works in Maharashtra but also acts as a template for alliances across the country. There is also speculation about Pawar becoming a pan-India rallying point.

Forced into a corner in Maharashtra, the BJP is being followed by NDA allies some of whom are believed to be “upset” with the “treatment” they are getting. There is another aspect— the “Hindutva” vote base of the Sena and the BJP. The Congress and the NCP coming with Sena may work in the favour of the two parties looking for ways to “better prospects among those who favour the BJP”.


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