Millennium Post

Side-effects of political breakups

Maharashtra has become a huge electoral battle ground after the two political alliances broke up one after another in few hours. This has restricted the sphere of the fight to becoming the single largest party when results to the assembly elections are announced on the 19 October 2014. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance conceived by Bal Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan survived 25 years despite minor frequent differences whereas the Congress-NCP alliance based on secularism lasted 15 years. 

The main reasons for parting  ways were certainly claims for the post of the CM by the respective parties after and a favorable seat sharing formula, in order to emerge as the strong political power in the new house. The surveys conducted by pollsters had predicted a landslide victory for the saffron alliance and drubbing for the other alliance though as per changed equations one would agree on possible emergence of a hung house.  The sudden collapse of the alliances made the task of finalising the list of candidates.

The four major players had to accomplish it in the eleventh hour by poaching leaders from other parties, rewarding them with tickets. As the break ups happened just four days prior to the last date of filing nominations and candidates were reluctant to file nominations till 24  September, the last of the inauspicious day’s in the ongoing pitra paksh, hence the BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP had to strive hard to identify candidates in a huff without adjudging the winning factor.

BJP is contesting 257 seats and has left rest 31 seats to the four small parties which declined to side with the Shiv Sena after fall out of the saffron alliance.  One of these four parties-RPI has the backing of large number of dalits. Of course, the party president, Amit Shah is facing a formidable challenge of ensuring a respectable win for his party, hence his earned competence of producing astonishing favorable results is at stake. 

The BJP would like to bank upon the Modi wave and the appreciable work done by his government at the center. The party is also satisfied with its best strike rate in comparison to the other parties including Shiv Sena in the last elections. The party has a coveted battery of the star campaigners and is hopeful of cultivating a good harvest in the elections. The party would not be able to match the aggressive campaign of Shiv Sena as the BJP has decided not to criticize its earlier partner in similar tone. 

BJP on the back foot is likely to lose ground. The loss of Gopinath Munde is also going to be another road block. BJP would like to take an advantage of the presidential rule and a former party leader as the governor in the state. Further the party is seemingly gearing up to be benefited by the division of votes amongst the four or more players. BJP had always been mathematically in an advantageous position due to the multi cornered contests.

Shiv Sena is contesting all but two seats, leaving one seat each to the BJP for the daughter of late Gopinath Munde and another for Arun Gawle’s daughter. The party is upbeat as it has raised the issue of Maharashtra’s pride.  It has been projecting Bal Thackeray as the only champion of the Hindu cause after Shivaji and it has been forcefully trying to put blame of the break up on the BJP.

Shiv Sena has less number of campaigners though it has a disciplined force of workers. But will indisposed Uddhav alone be able to cover the entire state in order to give a desired push to his party?  

There is a risk in involving an inexperienced Aditya in the election Mahabharata. In case he fails like the Congress youth leader, future of Aditya would indeed be eclipsed. Though Uddhav has started bridging gaps with his cousin Raj, a reunion looks impossible.

Congress is contesting on all seats and is depending on the clean image of Prithviraj Chavan, despite a drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. The party has been delighted to see a silver line in the recent by-election results in various states wherein the BJP has had to lose a substantial ground. It would be difficult for the party to overcome an anti-incumbency factor.  Any how, Congress has a tradition to bounce back in the shortest time possible.

NCP is also contesting on all the seats. The party has a strong base in certain regions, hence it cannot be written off.  The parting away of the alliance partners has provide an excellent opportunity to shrewd senior leader, Sharad Pawar to cobble post-election alliances and to either become the king or the king maker. The other player, MNS, is contesting 223 seats.  

It looks that all the players would be forced to dance to Pawar’s tunes after the elections.  One would like to understand that there is no permant foe or friend in politics. The fingers would remain crossed till the results are out.

The author is a communication consultant
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