By forcing the Shiv Sena into submission, the BJP has hit many targets in just one shot. It has made its minority government stable by keeping the ‘unfaithful and corrupt’ NCP at bay, and reduced the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, now a partner in the post-poll alliance, to minnows.
For now, it is a win-win situation for the BJP, which fell a little short of accomplishing ‘Mission-145’ in the Assembly polls, which it fought against the Sena and two other major parties. With the Sena’s inclusion, it now has about 200 MLAs in the assembly to rule the state with an iron fist.
Political commentator Surendra Jondhale said though the BJP has been successful in reversing the roles the two played in the past 25 years, the party was set to endure a troubled marriage. “This will definitely hamper PM Narendra Modi’s plan of party expansion in the state,” he said.
“The BJP might have invited hurdles and obstacles by bringing in the Sena, which will continue to create trouble for the major ally,” said Jondhale, outlining the two issues – statehood for Vidarbha, which the BJP is in favour of, and Hindutva, which the BJP preferred to keep on the backburner in view of the liberal vote bank, which wants the party to pursue the agenda of development.
BJP insiders begged to differ. A senior party leader told HT the party had left little scope to create trouble in the government. “We have not given them [Sena] ministries that will add their firepower. We have kept all key departments with us and avoided crating a parallel power centre by denying the Sena the deputy chief minister’s post,” the leader said, requesting anonymity.
Another BJP leader said the decision to join hands with the Sena was intentional as was the decision to break the alliance before the polls. “We went solo in the polls because we wanted to prove our might and tell the Sena we are the only party that can replace the Congress at the state and national level. Our party bosses have a plan in place to counter the Sena’s strategic moves in the long term,” he said.
CM Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday a coordination committee will ensure political clashes between the two partners are avoided. But he also sounded a warning for the Sena when he said there will be no compromise on his party’s position.