The results of 105 Municipal Councils and two Zilla Parishads have retained the BJP’s number one position despite being in the opposition benches. The upcoming local body elections, in which the votes of the urban as well as rural population, should be able to measure the strength that the single largest party in the state holds in the assembly on the ballot.
This will further propel the future trend for the BJP and three other key players – the Nationalist Congress Party, the Congress and the Shiv Sena. In the recently concluded elections, the NCP scored more than the Congress and the Shiv Sena, following the BJP in second place, which finished third and fourth respectively. The MVA partners did not contest the elections together, making it an all-out fight in most places. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena could not even reach the double digit figure.
The results show that the Shiv Sena is trailing the BJP in the 2019 assembly elections, which won a majority to form the government, but fell apart under the most unusual circumstances. A three-party government came to power, with allies competing to broaden their base, which the BJP had dented in the last five years.
Winning more in the local body government elections is considered a step forward in getting approval from the voters who also decide the governments in the state. The NCP, an ally of the Shiv Sena in the current government, has done what is expected of the ruling party, doubling the number of councils. The third MVA partner, the Congress, is not far behind the NCP; The party with which it has been rivaling both together and otherwise. Since continuity and the Congress rarely go hand in hand, its success in the next round of local body elections cannot be guaranteed.
The Shiv Sena can be expected to use an opportunity to bridge a huge gap between itself and the BJP (eventually MVA partners) in the next round of elections, with both parties in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and many other cities. Will fight closely. in MMR, and the rest of Maharashtra, especially in Aurangabad and Nashik. The NCP is preparing to oust the BJP from power in the Pune Metropolitan Region. The recently concluded elections in parts of Vidarbha gave the Congress an edge against the BJP, but that was not enough to fully fight against the BJP.
The Congress has an uphill task of fighting back with its guts to defeat the BJP in the civic body of Nagpur, where millennials must tell that the national party ruled the city for decades in the 20th century.
Under a compulsion by local leaders who have succeeded in telling their respective leadership that seat-sharing in small elections threatens the very existence of grassroots parties, the MVA partners again independent of each other in the next. Will fight. Large phase of local bodies. The results should help MVA participants to fathom their persona in their areas of influence and non-influence. It will also give the BJP, which now resolves to fight alone, a much needed data to plan its mega mission of forming the government on its own in 2024 (assuming that the MVA will not collapse or be created on its own) ) decline, the need for mid-term elections). As of now, the way to go there on a solo mission and wherever possible, with the sole objective of keeping the BJP out of power, is to come back with results to make a post-poll arrangement.
The BJP will enjoy power where it has a comfortable majority, but will be under pressure to prevent defection. Wherever possible structures like MVA will be attempted. Independents will snatch the benefits by switching to MVA parties. In fact, structures like MVA in local bodies are not a novelty, leading one to believe that the 2019 experiment was just an extension of the idea, not to forget a successful one executed by Sharad Pawar in his first term as CM. of Maharashtra. The only difference is that the BJP (erstwhile Jan Sangh) shared power with the Pawar-led Congress wing.
So, where does the BJP stand in Maharashtra in the present context? Shaken in 2019 and stirred up every time thereafter, it enjoys the joy of being the single largest party and resolves to hold the position in the coming years in all the upcoming elections. But will this be enough to claim power in a state government where undeniable numbers are needed?
The choice of voters will become more clear with the next phase of local bodies and assembly elections and a combination of parties will emerge from the MVA which we can see fighting in alliance. With the BJP maintaining that it will fight alone to secure a majority in the assembly, the NCP emerges as an open-ended entity, with partners either the Shiv Sena or the Congress (or BJP?) in the times to come. In all future circumstances, the NCP will be a party that will be watched eagerly for its ambitious run, driven not only by the supreme leadership but also by the stalwarts of its rank.
Dharmendra Jore is the political editor of Mid-Day. He tweeted @dharmendrajore
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