In a new precedent in state politics, Shiv Sena and Congress will now be the main Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly. It remains to be seen whether the Sena will do justice to the job, with a section within the party still looking to join the government.
On Wednesday, in a peculiar situation, the Congress and Sena came together to protest against the trust motion by voice vote in the well of the state Assembly, even as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the “unwanted ally” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kept quiet. Both the parties also moved for another trust motion, terming the earlier one illegitimate. The parties even briefly came together to block the governor’s entry to the legislative secretariat building, but parted ways later and held separate demonstrations.
Till the winter session at least, the parties will have to open communication channels and start co-ordinating with each other, if they want to provide an effective Opposition. On the day of the trust vote, they failed to do so with the BJP succeeding in its plan.
“The Sena’s decision to sit in the Opposition came at the last minute. We were upset at losing the main Opposition party space and there is a history of mistrust between us. But, we plan to start communicating with the Sena top brass to put the BJP on the backfoot during the winter session,” said a senior Congress leader.
He added the Opposition space in the state Assembly had come under threat with Sena still hoping for a truce with its former ally and the NCP making overtures to the BJP.
Post the break-up with its former ally Congress, the NCP has had no communication with its former ally. A majority of Congress leaders are convinced that the NCP will join hands with the NDA government in the coming six months.