“Cracks in Maharashtra’s coalition government.”
“Discord in Maha Vikas Aghadi government.”
The news of discord in Maharashtra’s coalition government drowns as soon as it surfaces. However, what remains are the contentious statements made by the Shiv Sena, or the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), or the Congress, and what they could mean for the state of Maharashtra.
Let’s look at the recent timeline of events:
- Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said on Monday, 14 June, that the Congress will contest the 2024 Maharashtra Assembly elections alone.
- Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has said that people would “beat (them up) with footwear” who only talk about contesting elections alone without really resolving people's miseries.
- On the other hand, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged Rs 175-crore money laundering case, recently wrote a letter to Thackeray requesting him to patch up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to save Sena leaders from being harassed by central agencies.
- Thackeray meets Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari
- Thackeray had also recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi
- Sharad Pawar arrives in Delhi
These events lead one to anticipate instability within the Maharashtra government and parting of Shiv Sena from its current alliances.
Then again, things seem to have taken a turn for the better. It turns out, Pawar had come to Delhi not to meet with the BJP but to meet opposition leaders and poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
- Sanjay Raut added that the MVA government will complete its five years.
- Despite saying that they will contest alone, Nana Patole extended his support, adding that the MVA government will not face any obstacles from the Congress.
Though there is a long time before the state Assembly elections, why are parties floating ideas to contest alone? This is where the contradiction between the party coalition and politics arise.
Senior journalist Abhay Deshpande believes that comments from several politicians is an attempt to secure more ground in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.
After meeting with Modi and Governor Koshiyari, Thackeray established an alternative for his party, so that Shiv Sena, at the time of elections doesn’t face any pressure in terms of seat distribution.
Meanwhile, the Congress, too, has occupied itself with increasing its influence. Between these pre-emptive actions, the NCP has begun establishing its footprint in rural Maharashtra.
The option to contest alone has been presented by Patole and not by other senior Congress leaders, which leaves a space for the latter to take control if things get out of hand.
According to political analyst Prakash Bal, “There might be talk of the Shiv Sena aligning with the BJP, but Thackeray won’t take that decision in such a hurry. Even the BJP-Sena government has had rifts among them, but they still completed their five years. In order to increase one’s bargaining power, such pressuring techniques are not uncommon, be it Congress-NCP or Sena-BJP.”
The matter could simply be that while a coalition government continues its task, the parties have to ensure an increasing influence of their existence.