If statements from both NCP chief Sharad Pawar and former Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar are anything to go by then it looks like they have finally settled to be an active opposition and hope for mid-term polls rather than try and share power with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On Friday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that snap polls were possible in the State if the Shiv Sena decided to quit the government. Reiterating his uncle, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday told mediapersons in Pune that if Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray decides to pull the plug, the BJP-led government at the State would fall. Ajit also said that he agreed with Pawar’s statement on snap polls in the State, if the Sena backed out.
These statements are in stark contrast with the NCP’s publicly-stated stance till a few months ago in October 2014 when it was offering to give external support to a BJP government. This was at a time when the Sena-BJP were having differences and were not able to come to a compromise on ministerial berths to be shared in the government.
Pawar had, defending his support to the BJP, said that the NCP wanted the State to have a stable government and hence, had decided to support the BJP. Without saying it explicitly, the Pawars are now indicating that the NCP would prefer to go for fresh elections, rather than support the BJP.
Not just that, the NCP was also rather vocal in its criticism of the BJP, something that it had been avoiding so far. Ajit and leader of opposition in the council Dhananjay Munde have both promised to put the BJP on the mat in the coming assembly session, starting Monday. The NCP has also indicated that it will work closely with the Congress in the opposition to do this, a coordination which was missing so far. This change in heart could have multiple reasons backing it. The most immediate one is the election results in Gondia and Bhandara Zilla Parishad polls where NCP unseated BJP in Gondia and Congress in Bhandara
As one NCP leader puts it, could have a lot to do with the perception of the BJP government as a dithering one, especially with the recent controversies which have affected the government’s perception.
What the leader didn’t add, however, is another theory in the party. “One section also feels that with the BJP-Sena have been a failure and hence, there’s a better chance that the Congress-NCP may fare better if snap polls were to be held within a year’s time if the government falls,” said another city-based NCP leader.