Nagpur: The break-up of the two parties has been confirmed. The 25-year-old BJP-Shiv Sena Mahayuti and the 15 year old Cong-NCP alliance is over. BJP President Amit Shah has cancelled his visit to Mumbai on Friday, while NCP senior leader Praffula Patel declared withdrawal of support from Cong-NCP led Maharashtra Government. A one line message to this effect was sent out by the alliance parties, giving a clear cut signal to go solo. This means that at state level both the BJP and Sena, who have been ‘ideological’ allies for the last 25 years will conduct a very bitter campaign against one another in all 288 seats and enter into a fierce contest. The electoral outcome and the electioneering will both be very interesting, going by the heat and dust it could potentially generate.
BJP heads for loss?
With seat-sharing talks between Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena for the October 15 Assembly Elections in Maharashtra going haywire and certainly at no point of return, the Mahayuti (Grand Alliance) has collapsed. The high-voltage drama, being witnessed over the contentious issue of seat-sharing and no end to the deadlock, has, however, turned the political situation in Nagpur City red-hot and dicey as well. The break-up of Grand Alliance has thrown some aspects wide open. First, Shiv Sena would emerge a reckoning force which eventually may spoil the BJP party. Second, it would be lose-lose situation for BJP if Shiv Sena fields its candidates for all the six seats of Nagpur. And third, Congress would be in win-win situation reaping the benefit of the vertical split in the 25-year alliance.
Cong on booster dose
The tug of war for more seats, in fact, has inflicted more damage to BJP than any other party in Nagpur scenario. Now, it will be forced to fight the Assembly elections on many fronts – from within and outside, too, and the ultimate outcome would be ominous and disastrous. The political situation for the party would not be as cozy as was in the 2009 Assembly elections. In the last poll, BJP had pocketed four out of six seats with victories in South West Nagpur, West Nagpur, Central Nagpur and East Nagpur constituencies. However, the victories were the result of combined strength of BJP itself and Shiv Sena. But this time, the strength has gone with the break-up in alliance. On the other hand, strength of Congress has got a booster dose and is likely to sweep majority of Nagpur seats. Many factors would be advantageous for the party in its juggernaut.
Shiv Sena to break barriers
With no alliance, Shiv Sena would be free to field its candidates, not only in South Nagpur which was in its quota of seats, but in all the six seats. Earlier also, the party was contesting the East Nagpur seat but a defeat in every election forced it to hand over the seat to BJP in the name of ‘coalition dharma.’ Moreover, now no “Dharma” to be followed, Shiv Sena is eying the sulking BJP leaders, who were either denied tickets in the previous elections and were forced to toe the party line under the garb of discipline or those who would be deprived of tickets in the October 15 election. Both way, there are plenty of “disappointed” leaders in BJP who would be more than happy to contest the election on Shiv Sena ticket and Shiv Sena would be a happier party to bring such winnable candidates from BJP into its fold. In sum, BJP would face lose-lose situation and for Congress, it would be win-win proposition at the cost of both the warring parties.
Sena’s dent into BJP’s fort
If sources are to be believed, Shiv Sena had already started attempts to net the drifting BJP leaders even before the talks on seat-sharing broke down. According to reports, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had contacted Nagpur Unit office-bearers and directed them to send names of candidates from all constituencies including the names of those BJP leaders who are hoping tickets but are likely to be denied the same. And the list of sulking leaders is long to be fit in Shiv Sena bill. The move by Uddhav has rattled the top BJP leaders who are scurrying to know the names of leaders finding place in Shiv Sena list but were no successful.
Nagpur Unit of Shiv Sena has sent names of its candidates from all the six constituencies and also the names of “frustrated” BJP leaders. Names of two leaders for South-West Nagpur and North Nagpur seats are likely to force BJP see the red because both were closely knitted with the party in the past. If these two leaders are in the fray, it would signal a certain defeat for BJP in those segments. Other contentious seats are East Nagpur and West Nagpur. The East Nagpur seat is not new to Shiv Sena as it has fought many elections from this segment and has a stronghold over voters. It would be interesting to see which ‘rebel’ leader the State Unit President of BJP faces in his South-West Nagpur constituency. Name of a particular leader is taking round who is capable of forcing the official candidate run for his money.
One aspect is emerging certain in this dicey political situation post snapping of ties between BJP and Shiv Sena. Congress would gain the most even if NCP too walks out of the Front. NCP holds no water in Nagpur. It has been proved time and again. Congress camp is raising its hand higher and higher for cheers!!