Well, the elections for the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly might see a somewhat repeat telecast of the verdict that came out in the Lok Sabha elections. Like Haryana, BJP had decided to go it alone in the Maharashtra assembly elections. It was not really an easy choice, if you remember that the BJP-Shiv Sena combine had won 42 out of the 48 seats in the General Elections in May. Emboldened by forming government at the centre, BJP’s confidence grew manifold. The party started to believe that Modi wave and the development card can convince the voters in the state.
However, after breaking alliance, BJP is now faced with double challenge of countering both Shiv Sena and MNS in areas like Mumbai and Konkan. Fortunately for BJP, Shiv Sena’s clout in Dadar is waning fast. It has now become a contest between them and the MNS. The voters of the Dadar-Mahim constituency are of the opinion that Modi’s ‘appeal’ could turn the table in BJP’s favour despite substantial work done by the current MLA from MNS.
Too early to predict
Although it’s too early to vouch for BJP, yet the lady luck is likely to show its allegiance to the saffron party. An unofficial estimate suggests that the party won’t be far behind from achieving that magical 145 mark to emerge as the single largest party. While some are of the opinion that the possibility of BJP-NCP alliance can’t be ruled out. If that doesn’t happen, then BJP-Shiv Sena coalition will be back in the business. In fact, Gadkari had gone on record to say that the both the parties were ‘natural allies’ and they might “need to come together’ in future.
For Shiv Sena, this assembly elections is once-in-a-five-year chance to prove a point. Uddhav Thackeray’s on-stage aggression looks a desperate attempt to show it to the Marathi manoos that the party hasn’t lost its sheen after the passing away of Bal Thackeray. The pre-poll survey has thrown up a very perplexing response. It seems that the people of Maharashtra are torn between the two. They want BJP to win as a party but prefer Uddhav as the Chief Ministerial candidate. However, MNS will certainly stonewall Uddhav’s ambition as the party is expected to eat away at least 25% of Shiv Sena’s vote share.
Congress had chosen honesty over expediency. The party, in all probability, will have to pay the price for its anti-incumbency image and the recently resigned chief minister knows how much he is to be blamed for this. Sharad Pawar’s NCP is unlikely to overcome the odds. Although the party is desperate to retain its stronghold in Western Maharashtra, yet the near humiliation during the Lok Sabha elections is haunting the party. A somersault in terms of winning voters’ confidence is just not in consideration. Even though it won’t be a mighty fall for the NCP, yet the party’s vote share is predicted to be no less humiliating.
Not many would be pinning hopes on the possibility of an Congress-NCP alliance because their tally is unlikely to cross 75 seats collectively, which is not even remotely closer to the 145-mark. Instead of a five-cornered contest, this election is likely to be a one-sided affair with Shiv Sena taking up a tiny space in the canvas.