MUMBAI/CHANDIGARH : The BJP’s showing in Maharashtra and Haryana have left the respective chief ministers in a tight spot. While Devendra Fadnavis has retained Maharashtra, largely because of the Shiv Sena alliance, Khattar’s ‘Mission 75 seats’, has fallen flat and the party must find at least six supporters to put him back in the saddle. With both CMs emerging weaker, in Maharashtra, there is the real apprehension that the BJP will have to face a hard bargain by the Shiv Sena, which has already demanded 50:50 share in governance. Whether this translates into a rotational chief ministership for half of the term each, or half of the important portfolios, is not clear.
The Sena had been clear in its pre-poll ambition that party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray must be a deputy CM. Political observers feel this is now a real possibility, given that the Sena is so crucial to the formation of the government.
The Sena, should it be cornered, could readily draw NCP’s support and despite the 30 or so independents, still form the government, a situation the BJP that would force the BJP to make compromises.
Fadnavis does have the backing of PM Narendra Modi and as the first Maharashtra CM in past 40 years to have completed five years in office, benefits from popular perception as a stable leader. However, his own stability will depend on how firmly he withstands Sena pressure and how deftly he is able to guard the BJP ship, which he has bolstered with Congress turncoats.
The bigger trouble emanates from people like Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and Prakash Mehta, among other ministers, who were denied tickets. It will be obligatory for the party now to listen to them as well, making Fadnavis more dependent on Delhi and leaders like state chief Chandrakant Patil. In Haryana, however, the pressure is more on Khattar as 8 of his 10 ministerial colleagues have lost the battle.
Khattar a Punjabi and non-Jat with no administrative experience ruled the state for five years and had to reckon with a tumultuous law and order situation in his first few years. His projecion as a clean CM has not worked. The shortfall of seats opens him to blackmail by seniors within the party.
23 women elected in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has elected 23 women members for the 15th assembly, seven more than what it had elected in 2014. Eleven of them have been re-elected, though prominent members like WCD minister Pankaja Munde won’t be in the 288-member Assembly. In 2014, the House had 16 women members. Two of them, Amita Chavan, wife of ex-CM Ashok Chavan, and Medha Kulkarni didn’t contest this time.
INLD, main Oppn, wiped out in Haryana
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which won 19 seats in the 2014 elections and was the main opposition party, has been virtually wiped out as it only won one seat in these elections. But Dushyant Chautala of Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is the kingmaker with his 11-month-old JJP winning 10 seats in a 90-member assembly. Dushyant is the great grandson of the late former deputy prime minister Devi Lal.
Pawar slams ‘arrogance of power’
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday thanked the people for giving a clear mandate to the ‘MahaYuti’ (Grand Alliance) and said that the alliance would be back in power in the state as per the formula agreed to before the Lok Sabha polls. NCP Chief Sharad Pawar attributed the defeat of the ruling combine to ‘arrogance of power’ was punished by the people. Fadnavis also claimed that 15 Oppn rebels are in touch with him