It’s not only the Shiv Sena which stands at a turning point with its chief’s demise as, in a strange coincidence, other prominent parties in the state are also facing an upheaval.
Uddhav Thackeray, who takes over Sena’s reigns, will now get complete control over the party. This will reflect in the party’s decisions, which until now were influenced by the senior Thackeray. The Sena is likely to witness some changes as the old guard that does not get along well with Uddhav will have to back out altogether.
Sena’s vulnerability has excited its long-time ally the BJP, which shares the same voter base. The BJP, which emerged the main opposition party in the state in 2009 polls, is expected to review its strategy to occupy more opposition space. At the same time, the party aims to build a rainbow coalition to snatch power from the Congress-NCP in 2014 assembly polls.
“We want Raj Thackeray’s MNS to join forces with us. A grand alliance of the BJP with Sena, RPI and MNS would be a winner,” said a top BJP functionary. However, the hopes of winning power could lead to fresh tussle between veterans like Gopinath Munde and younger leaders being promoted by Munde’s bête noire, BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Recently, Gadkari put Munde in charge of the party’s campaign for 2014 polls. The prospects of growth will revive ambitions of the young brigade that includes opposition leader in the legislature Vinod Tawde, state president Sudhir Munguntiwar and Nagpur legislator Devendra Phadnavis.
The ruling Congress and NCP, too, stand at crossroads. Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party is witnessing a silent tussle between its ambitious leader Ajit Pawar and senior Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule. Ajit, who recently resigned as deputy chief minister over the irrigation scam, is unhappy over his uncle’s efforts to rein him in. The tension among his supporters is visible as attempts are being made to position Sule as a frontline leader of the party. It could reach a flashpoint if Ajit’s patience runs out.
As far as the Congress is concerned, the party top brass seems to be inclined to let Prithviraj Chavan continue as chief minister, but a section of state Congress leaders are questioning the move. “We would need resources for elections. We want the CM to take populist decisions to beat anti-incumbency as we are in power since 1999. We don’t think an image-conscious Chavan can do the needful,” insisted a senior Congress leader.
But, if Chavan and his brand of politics succeed, a lot will change for the state Congress.