Gujarat Assembly polls: How state votes will affect how Maharashtra’s parties see BJP

If the BJP suffers a setback in Gujarat, the Congress and Shiv Sena will sharpen their attack on the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government

mumbai Updated: Dec 16, 2017 23:26 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Gujarat Assembly polls,BJP,Congress
If the BJP manages to retain power in Gujarat, this means the party’s and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to attract voters has remained intact.(HT File)

When the results of Gujarat Assembly elections are declared on Monday, it is not just leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, but top functionaries of the other three prominent parties, who will also watch with the same keen interest. The outcome of the Gujarat polls will have an impact on Maharashtra, according to political analysts and party functionaries.

Current political equations in Maharashtra are unlikely to change if the BJP manages to retain power in Gujarat without a dent in its support base, which is what various exit polls have predicted.

Such a result means that the party’s and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to attract voters has remained intact. In such a situation, its ally, the Shiv Sena, would prefer to maintain the status quo by supporting the BJP-led governments in the state and the Centre. Although the party is likely to step up its attack on the BJP in the run up to the 2019 elections, there won’t be an immediate impact on their relationship, said Sena insiders. A victory for the BJP in Maharashtra’s neighbouring state will lead its main opposition party, the Congress, to analyse why it continues to get public support.

On the other hand, if the BJP suffers a setback in Gujarat — either a loss of a considerable number of seats or worse, a complete loss of power— the Congress and Shiv Sena will sharpen their attack on the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government. Even the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has indicated that it wants to return to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) may take a clear anti-BJP stand.

This would force the state government to be on its toes. Although the BJP is short of 23 seats for a simple majority in the Assembly, Fadnavis has managed to run his government without any problems as the Shiv Sena has supported it directly and the NCP, indirectly.

“A favourable result in Gujarat will surely give more confidence to the BJP in Maharashtra. It will also become bold in taking on the Sena which has been a troublesome ally,”opined Dr Surendra Jondhale, a Mumbai based political analyst. “If BJP suffers any setback, even a close contest in Gujarat will boost the morale of the Opposition. NCP chief Sharad Pawar too will be cautious and try to align with the Congress to win back power in Maharashtra,”he added.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 23:25 IST