Infighting escalates in Maharashtra's ruling coalition as Shinde Camp blames BJP, NCP for LS polls slump

Ramdas Kadam criticised the BJP for interfering in seat allocations and candidate selections, which he claimed led to the Shinde faction’s losses in key constituencies.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (C) with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP (R) and Ajit Pawar of the NCP (L).
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (C) with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP (R) and Ajit Pawar of the NCP (L).File Photo | PTI

MUMBAI: The infighting within Maharashtra's ruling Mahayuti coalition intensified on Thursday following its disappointing performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

Ramdas Kadam, a prominent leader of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, has publicly blamed coalition allies—the BJP and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP—for the Mahayuti’s lacklustre showing.

Kadam criticised the BJP for interfering in seat allocations and candidate selections, which he claimed led to the Shinde faction’s losses in key constituencies.

"Due to the interference of the BJP, we lost Nasik, Hingoli, and Wasim Lok Sabha seats. Otherwise, Hemant Godse, Hemant Patil, and Bhawana Gawali would have been re-elected as Lok Sabha MPs. We hope the BJP will not make the same mistake in the upcoming state assembly elections,” he said.

Kadam also urged Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to take a stand and expressed his willingness to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah to ensure fair treatment for Shiv Sena in the state elections.

"In Lok Sabha elections, whenever we decided to claim our traditional and sitting Lok Sabha MPs seats, the BJP started putting claims over these seats. It should be stopped if the alliance wants to win more seats in state assembly elections. We want at least 100 seats in the state assembly elections in Mahayuti and I am confident that out of 100, we will surely win 90 seats," the Shinde faction leader asserted.

Kadam also pointed fingers at Ajit Pawar, suggesting that the NCP leader’s earlier entry into Mahayuti negatively impacted the election results.

In response, NCP spokesperson Amol Mitkari took to social media to criticise Kadam's remarks.

"Ramdas Kadam ji, you said that it would have been better if Ajit Pawar had come a little late. For your kind information, wish to inform you that Ajit Dada came on time; therefore, your nappy was spared. Do not forget that you were saved because of Dada’s grace,” Mitkari wrote.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (C) with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP (R) and Ajit Pawar of the NCP (L).
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Earlier, the RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser' also blamed Ajit Pawar and his party for the Mahayuti's electoral decline, claiming Pawar's inclusion caused complacency among BJP workers who had previously opposed him.

There is speculation that the BJP leadership is considering dropping Ajit Pawar ahead of the Maharashtra state assembly elections, but such a move is fraught with challenges.

"BJP is in a catch-22 situation; if they drop Ajit Pawar, then the message to the masses will go that BJP uses the party and throws them away once they use it over. But keeping Ajit Pawar is also a major issue; therefore, what should be done with Ajit Pawar is a big issue within the BJP and its leadership," sources told TNIE, requesting anonymity.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led Mahayuti won 17 seats, while the opposition's Maha Vikas Aghadi, consisting of the Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), and NCP (SP), secured 31 seats.

The BJP’s tally fell from 23 seats in 2019 to nine, while the Shiv Sena (Shinde) won seven out of 15 contested seats, while Ajit Pawar's faction won only one out of four seats.

On the other hand, the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction won nine out of 21 seats, while Sharad Pawar’s NCP secured eight out of 10 contested seats. The Congress won 13 of the 17 seats it contested, and congress leader turned independent candidate Vishal Patil, who won from Sangli, extended his support to the MVA.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (C) with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP (R) and Ajit Pawar of the NCP (L).
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde (C) with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP (R) and Ajit Pawar of the NCP (L).
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