Why going will not be easy for Devendra Fadnavis, were he to return
Despite sealing a pre-poll pact for last month’s assembly elections in Maharashtra, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena have failed to reach an agreement to come together to form a government even as the deadline to do so lapses in a day.
While the BJP and Sena fought the elections together and secured 105 seats and 56 seats respectively, they have been having trouble in coming to an agreement about portfolios and about a shared Chief Minister deal.
The Sena is giving the BJP sleepless night by sending feelers to another Maharashtra-based party the Nationalist Congress Party and others to explore the possibility of forming a government without the BJP.
The term of the current assembly ends tomorrow, and the BJP is making all efforts to secure Sena’s support to retain Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. Even if he manages to retain the chief minister’s chair, the going will not be easy for Fadnavis, the first chief minister in recent past to complete full five year term. Here are four reasons for it.
*The BJP is the single largest party with 105 seats but it is good 40 seats short of the half way mark. This makes the support of 57 Shiv Sena MLAs very crucial for the BJP to secure another term in power. It’s dependence on Sena is greater this time that what it was in 2014 when the BJP had 122 MLAs.
*The relationship between the Shiv Sena and the BJP has ebbed to a new low, with the Maharashtra based party asking for rotation of chief minister’s post, much to the displeasure of the BJP. Shiv Sena has claimed that the BJP had promised a 50:50 share in power and rotational chief minister’s post when the two negotiated a seat sharing deal for the parliamentary election earlier this year. By refusing to come on board without the BJP honouring the deal, Sena has displayed that it is going to be a difficult partner.
*Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis have had an uneasy relationship over the past five years. Thackeray feels Fadnavis treated the Sena ‘unfairly’ in power-sharing agreement in the state and hurt them politically. They were in alliance but remained distant, so much so that Sena often took a different line on crucial issues such as demonetisation.
*This election has been special for Sena. It was for the first time that a member of Thackeray family - Uddhav’s son Aditya Thackeray - contested election. Uddhav now wants a grand debut for Aditya, and eyes the chief minister’s post for him. If Fadnavis manages to remain CM, it will cause a lot of heartburn in the Shiv Sena.