Presidential poll fallout: BJP can stand on its own in Maharashtra, has support of Congress-NCP legislators
The Presidential polls indicate that in the eventuality of Sena walking out of the government, as it has often threatened, the BJP can still stand given its inroads in the Opposition camp.mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2017 14:27 IST
The Presidential polls held on Thursday that saw Maharashtra poll 208 votes in favour of the NDA candidate Ramnath Govind, has given a confidence boost to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government just in its time of need.
In the polls, 22 additional votes beyond the BJP and ally Sena’s tally went to the NDA candidate. Even if one discounts independents and some smaller parties, the arithmetic shows the NDA candidate got at least 13 votes from the Opposition, the Congress and the NCP.
More importantly, if one takes away Sena’s 63 legislators from the mix, it shows the BJP in these elections shored up support of additional 22 legislators to touch the magic figure of 145 it needs for a clear majority in the house.
For the past two years, the BJP’s uneasy alliance with the Sena has been hanging because the former does not have a clear majority in the 288-member house and needs the support of its ally. The Presidential polls indicate that in the eventuality of Sena walking out of the government, as it has often threatened, the BJP can still stand given its inroads in the Opposition camp.
“This makes our position stronger and gives us greater bargaining powers with the Opposition as well as the Sena. It doesn’t mean we are planning a coup at this stage. As far as possible, we want this government to continue, but in 2019 polls, the gloves will be off. We have been in talks with several sitting Congress-NCP legislators and this election proves many are willing to join the party,’’ said a senior BJP minister.
There has been ongoing speculation of several political heavyweights joining the BJP, including Suresh Dhas, Jaydutt Kshirsagar, Vijaysinha Mohite Patil from NCP, besides Congress’ Narayan Rane, his son Nitesh and his supporters.
The immediate impact of these polls will be visible in the coming monsoon session of the state legislature given that both the Opposition and the Sena will be reeling from the impact of loss of their already weakened positions in the state Assembly. For instance in this scenario, whether the Opposition will be able to put the government on mat over loan waiver, controversial projects like Mumbai-Nagpur highway remains uncertain.
The Fadnavis-led government has another two years before the 2019 Assembly polls. A stronger bargaining position for his government will also enable the CM to road roll his key policies and projects without any hindrance from his ally, Sena or the opposition.
The timing of the polls and the confidence boost couldn’t have come at a better time for the BJP-government. With the Rs36,000-crore loan waiver, the state government is in a financial tough spot and is staring at 30 per cent cuts in development funds.
It could do with less bother from ally as well as the Opposition.