MUMBAI: A senior BJP minister from the Maharashtra Cabinet has confirmed off the record that the party has shelved its plans to hold mid-term polls in the state.
“We were considering the option (mid-term polls) and had commissioned a surveys too. However, with no visible threat to the government and with most of the destabilising factors well under control, we have shelved the plan,” the minister told The Sunday Standard.
For the past few months, the BJP was considering mid-term polls as an option to do away with Shiv Sena, after ties between the two allies tottered during the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections earlier this year.
Shiv Sena was aggressive over several issues, including the crop loan waiver, which the BJP wanted to bring in later. During that period, BJP considered options to hold mid-term polls. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had stated in June that the party was prepared for the polls.
“We had tested two options. One, to hold the elections in October. The other was to hold them in December, along with the Gujarat Assembly polls. In either case, BJP would have won around 185 seats, our surveys showed,” the minister said.
However, several equations in the state changed with the unfolding of BJP’s grand strategy for the presidential polls. “As Fadnavis had rightly said, several invisible hands came forward to support the BJP government,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state government was successful in resolving the farmers’ issue amicably. Announcement of a scheme for crop loan waiver defused the tension. An agitation of the Maratha community too was tackled. “These two were the biggest tests for the government. We have successfully cleared both the challenges. This has also increased our confidence that we are able to handle any eventuality. That also helped us in shelving the plans for the mid-term polls,” the minister said.
When asked if the party plans to make the ‘invisible hands’ come to fore, he said the party feels the hands would be able to provide stronger support if they remain invisible.
When asked about the lingering issue of Congress leader and former Shiv Sena chief minister Narayan Rane’s induction into the party, the minister indicated that it is sure to happen.
“For outsiders, it may appear as if BJP is in a mad race to induct leaders from other parties. But it is not so. A deep study of strengths, opportunities and threats is done before inducting any leader into the party. In case of Rane, his induction will help the party get visibility in Konkan and hence, chances of him being inducted soon are more,” the minister said, adding that the BJP would be more aggressive in the state on every front in future, as the leadership is grooming the party in that fashion.