Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 11
With the Shiv Sena walking out its “bad marriage” with the BJP, the NDA may have lost control of a big state, Maharashtra, but the decision will have “whatsoever no effect” on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
The BJP independently has 303 MPs in the 545-member Lok Sabha and the loss of support from the 18 Sena members is “effectively immaterial/doesn’t matter” for the NDA.
The walkout by the NDA’s oldest ally appears to have given hope to partners in the poll-bound Jharkhand of a “better deal” from the BJP now. With Maharashtra nowhere close to getting a government, Uttar Pradesh, Karanataka, Gujarat and Assam are among the “big states” ruled by the saffron party. Bihar has the chief minister of coalition partner JD-U and Tamil Nadu AIADMK while Jharkhand is due for elections soon. Other BJP-ruled states are northeastern states and Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa.
With the Congress “undecided” on support the Sena-NCP efforts, observers believe Maharashtra could very well be headed for President’s rule which suits the BJP well. “States come and go but parties have to think long-term. Ideological differences are bound to create issues,” they said, watching the continuing political drama from the sidelines.
When Sena leader Arvind Sawant formally announced his decision to quit the Narendra Modi Cabinet all that he said was “samajhne wali baat hai”. This when asked whether the Sena was quitting the NDA.
“The NDA is minus an ally but it makes whatsoever no difference to the BJP which independently has 303 MPs in the Lok Sabha. We would have liked the alliance to continue but it was Sena’s decision to walk out, we made all the efforts from our side,” they said.
The Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha while in the Rajya Sabha it has three. The break-up appears to have raised the hopes of allies AJSU and LJP in Jharkhand. The BJP’s first list of 52 candidates has kept alive their hopes of a larger share for the upcoming elections to the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly.
The AJSU is demanding 19 seats, 11 more that it got in the last elections. Sources say the decision on alliance was delayed due to claims by AJSU on Lohardaga and Chandankiyari constituencies it contested in 2014 and where apparently the BJP wants to field “turncoats” from the Congress. “We are looking for a workable solution to reach our target of 65 plus seats,” said a BJP leader yesterday when the party announced its first list of 52 candidates for the state.
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