As Ajit Pawar takes the oath of office as deputy chief minister, making it a Shinde-Fadnavis-Pawar government, — triple engine sarkar as it’s called now — the analysis has already taken an expected shift. When the initial hoopla settles down, a select few should reflect on lost political opportunities.
Political analysts have pointed to the possibility of chief minister Eknath Shinde’s diminishing clout, for now, the BJP doesn’t have to depend solely on Shiv Sena to retain power in Maharashtra.
A political website has highlighted that Pawar’s appointment as deputy chief minister undoubtedly has far-reaching implications, for it weakens the Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s association with the BJP. As a section of the media points out, the BJP, which has 105 MLAs in the 288-member house, doesn’t quite need the Shiv Sena to wield clout in Maharashtra.
Further, it’s being held that the induction of Pawar and eight other NCP leaders to the council of ministers may also dishearten leaders from the Shinde-led faction, waiting to expand the cabinet. For a year now, the Shinde-led government functioned with a small cabinet comprising just 20 ministers, including the CM and deputy CM.
It’s reported that while Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis had hinted at giving ministerial opportunities to leaders from both parties, there was no headway on it. With nine MLAs inducted from the NCP, the CM and Deputy CM announced another deadline to cabinet hopefuls in both parties, sources from the Shinde camp hinted.
Only a year back, 39 MLAs abandoned the Uddhav Thackeray-led undivided Shiv Sena camp to join Shine. Differences with the NCP and Ajit Pawar were cited as one of the reasons behind their rebellion.
With Pawar now part of the government, will the old conflicts come to the fore? For now, it’s being held that the Shinde camp has ruled out any such possibility. Only time, as they say, will tell.
Meanwhile, it’s undeniable that the division of two of Maharashtra’s formidable regional parties also weakens the unified opposition of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) comprising the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), the NCP and Congress.
Sanjay Patil, a research assistant with the Mumbai University’s politics and civics department, was quoted as saying, “In its almost ten years of experience of ruling at the Centre, one thing is clear that the BJP always has multiple strategies ready at the same time. In 2019, when the MVA was formed, it became a big headache for the BJP which lost power in Maharashtra. The MVA was a project to motivate opposition parties to unite against the BJP. So the BJP first tried to dismantle the MVA by using Shinde, and now Ajit Pawar.”
He added, “This is a message to opposition parties that if you try to do this, you will either become a Shiv Sena or an NCP.”
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