Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 12
Will the BJP have the last laugh in Maharashtra? Currently it is wait and watch for the saffron party, which hopes that ideological differences among the Sena, NCP and the Congress will prevent them from coming together.
Given that no player came forward with the magic figure, Governor BS Koshyari today imposed the President’s rule in the state.
Logically speaking, there is not much scope for many possibilities now. Either the extremely cautious NCP and Congress form the government with the help of Shiv Sena or the Sena kiss and make up with the BJP. The third, of course, is a re-election.
The fact is the BJP cannot afford to lose Maharashtra at a time when the byelections are due in neighbouring Karnataka and Assembly polls in Jharkhand.
The BJP not being able to form the government in Maharashtra, despite being the single largest party, is bad news for party and chief strategist Amit Shah, who has been strangely silent on the vexed political situation in Maharashtra.
The Karnataka bypoll, which is crucial for the BJP to retain the state, is not expected to be a cakewalk and neither are the Jharkhand Assembly elections where NDA’s Bihar allies — LJP and JD-U — have opened independent fronts.
Newly appointed LJP president Chirag Paswan today made it clear that the party would contest alone in Jharkhand.
Meanwhile, byelections to 15 constituencies in Karnataka are being considered a mini-Assembly battle for power in the state. The ruling BJP there has to prove its majority while the Opposition tries to get maximum seats. The BJP also has to cater to some backlash from minority communities post the Ram temple verdict.
Apparently, keeping Karnataka bypoll in mind the Congress yesterday decided to not support the Sena. And this despite Sena being among the handful supporters of the Emergency. The right-wing Maharashtra party also went against the wishes of ally BJP to support Congress’ presidential candidate Pratibha Patil.
As far as BJP chief Amit Shah is concerned, it seems he is pretty miffed with the way the Maharashtra situation was handled by former CM Devendra Fadnavis. But because a public commitment was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Fadnavis’s name, the BJP continued to support him till the end.
The handling or rather “mishandling” of Maharashtra has lost Fadnavis the edge he had and now that the state is under the President’s rule, the BJP may make efforts to form the government with the help of Sena and a different BJP leader.
“Six months is a long time and many things can happen,” observers say. Perhaps, the BJP also hopes that some “impatient rival/Sena MLAs touch base to offer it tacit support given that no one would like a re-election”.
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