Going solo in civic, local body elections won’t impact the coalition state government, reports Sanjay Jog.
Notwithstanding the decision by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its junior partner Shiv Sena to contest separately in the election to the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation, the allies on Tuesday indicated that there is no threat to the Maharashtra government. Such posturing might continue till the elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, slated for 2017, but both the parties realise that staying together is politically important.
After strong performances in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the BJP has the upper hand and is in no mood to listen to the Sena. However, the Sena, which is seemingly uncomfortable playing a second fiddle, has been stepping up attack against the national party on various issues.
Interestingly, the rank and file of the two parties is building pressure on their leadership to continue the alliance government, which assumed charge after 15 years of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party governments. A section of the BJP and Sena also said local and civic body elections would have little impact on the functioning of the alliance government. Further, they maintain that the survival of the government would help mobilise funds locally and thereby boost the development process. This also empowers the local leadership which otherwise would have to strive for their existence.
A senior Sena MP, who did not want to be quoted, said due to the alliance government, it was easy to launch long-pending irrigation projects especially in Vidarbha and Marathwada and also attract investments there. '”One thing is clear that both the BJP and Sena are on the same page that the Congress-NCP government’s pro-western Maharashtra policies have increased regional imbalance and spurt in corruption. The time is ripe to rewrite Maharashtra’s development story. So, despite differences on couple of issues no one is ready for a divorce,” he says.
However, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ratnakar Mahajan said, '”It is a cat and mouse game between the two. The BJP wants to show that they are the big brother in state politics, while Shiv Sena is keen to regain the ground that it has lost to the BJP by resorting to hooliganism. Shiv Sena feels that the party can increase its strength by appealing to the Marathi pride. So, Sena wants to keep pressure on the BJP which it refuses to acknowledge.” He admits that there is no danger to the alliance government.