Post polls, Maharashtra will see political churning

Post polls, Maharashtra will see political churning

 Devendra Fadnavis. PTI file photo

Notwithstanding the outcome of the 17th Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, the state is set to go through a major political churning once the results are out.

Given the fact that Maharashtra will be the first big state to head for Assembly elections after the Lok Sabha polls, alignments, reorientation, new alliances and break-ups of political parties are expected.

Election to the 288-member strong state Assembly is scheduled for September-October, right after the monsoon ends.

Political parties will be in poll mode again after the legislature session, which comes right after the Lok Sabha results.

Nearly 50% of Maharashtra, particularly the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, is reeling under a severe drought, which is being described as far more worse than the one in 1972.

Drought, agrarian distress and farmers' suicide will be among the key issues and deciding factors in the state and are also the major areas of concern for the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government.

In the coming election, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) would be something that both the major alliances— the ruling five-party BJP-Sena led combine and the Congress-NCP Opposition that has cobbled up a 56-party front— should look out for.

During the Lok Sabha polls, Raj had addressed a dozen rallies across the state seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had favoured the inclusion of Raj in the Opposition grouping but the anti-North Indian stance of the charismatic orator is a problem for the Congress.

The Maharashtra Congress leadership headed by Ashok Chavan will have to take a call on this.

Prakash, the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, has managed to set up a formidable front of Dalits, Muslims and other communities including Tribals, Dhangars, Kolis, Agris, Banjaras, Malis and Kaikadis.

If one goes by the reports and analysis of the Lok Sabha polls, once can see that Prakash along with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asasuddin Owaisi has created a dent in the Dalit-Muslim votes of the Congress.

In 2014, the Dhangars by and large were on the BJP's side but in 2019, they are with the VBA.

"Both Raj Thackeray and Prakash Ambedkar have emerged as key players ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections," veteran political analyst and writer Prakash Akolkar said.

Another key player in the Konkan region is BJP-sponsored Rajya Sabha member Narayan Rane. The moment the BJP and the Sena announced a seat-sharing formula, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha founder distanced away.

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has already faced criticism of seat-sharing agreement with the BJP after having targeted the latter's leaders for five years.

In every rally, Uddhav had to do a bit of explaining.

Post results, two senior politicians— Congress MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who has resigned as leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, and NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, a former deputy chief minister— are expected to join the BJP.

Their sons, Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil and Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil, respectively, have already joined the BJP.