“The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.”
This couldn’t have been more apt in the case of Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray who on his part was both ignorant and arrogant, bereft of the ground reality. As the results of the civic elections across the state of Maharashtra trickled in, Devendra Fadnavis led BJP came out stronger than ever before. The BJP was involved in a close fight with the Shiv Sena in the BMC elections, with the latter winning 84 wards and the former triumphed in 82 wards and with the support of 4 independent candidates already in the bag.
But one must think why Mumbai got all the attention and not rest of Maharashtra. Of course BMC is the biggest Municipal Corporation in all of India but the bigger reason behind it is BJP’s mega show of strength. Something that BJP detractors in Media and opposition are finding hard to digest.
BJP created history in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, a NCP bastion where there will be a BJP mayor for the first time in history. The BJP also swept Nagpur, Nashik, Ulhasnagar, Amravati, Solapur and Akola. The Congress, NCP and MNS were completely decimated failing to win any corporation in Maharashtra. Results of zilla parishad were also announced simultaneously. Following is an analysis of how ever party fared in Maharashtra.
- Bharatiya Janta Party:- The civic polls results mark the emergence of Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis as a leader in his own right. BJP is all set to rule 8 out of the 10 municipal corporations that went to polls and in all probability, will form the government in the BMC too. The civic elections coincided with the elections of Uttar Pradesh leaving Devendra Fadnavis to steer the BJP to victory single handedly. Even in the zilla parishad elections the BJP has performed exceedingly well emerging as the single largest party. The decision to appoint Devendra Fadnavis as the CM of Maharashtra is proving to be a masterstroke. It would be icing on the cake for the BJP if these results have an impact on the eastern Uttar Pradesh which is yet to go to polls. The theory that BJP doesn’t do well against the regional parties was also put to rest. It’s performance in rural areas where it is historically weak speaks volumes about the leadership of Fadnavis and the expectations the people have with the BJP. The BJP must reciprocate the faith shown by the people and fulfil it’s promises.
- Shiv Sena:- Not many people have dared to take on the BJP in recent times and managed to come alive. The Shiv Sena managed to emerge as the single largest party in the BMC but will need the support of the BJP to form the government. Elsewhere the Shiv Sena was nowhere to be seen and failed to win any ward in Nagpur. The BJP despite not having the Sena’s organisational strength performed better across the state. There is absolutely no way the Shiv Sena would force mid-term elections now unless they really want to sit in the opposition benches. Instead of praising the Congress and releasing their posters in Urdu, Uddhav Thackeray must dump his arrogance and see the writing on the wall.
With the latest BMC feat, The BJP in just 3 years has managed to wipe out the NCP, MNS and INC from the state and Shiv Sena isn’t too far away from the BJP’s sights.
The Sena is reduced to a force in the Konkan region only. Together the BJP and SS hold almost every meaningful body in the state and have absolutely decimated the opposition. The strength of the shakhas of the SS combined with the charismatic leadership of Modi-Fadnavis will prove to be a formidable alliance. It’s time for the two estranged saffron allies to come together and rule the state for many years to come and bring about a positive change.
- Indian National Congress: – Congress is now officially redundant in Maharashtra politics. Congress has completely vanished from Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Pune, large parts of which the party enjoyed power with the NCP. Congress was expecting to attract a large chunk of Purvanchali-North Indian voters who wouldn’t vote for the SS in the BMC polls for obvious reasons. Despite having a Purvanchali (Sanjay Nirupam) as their head in Mumbai, it couldn’t stop the gravitation of the purvanchali voters to the BJP. Perhaps the INC forgot that Sanjay Nirupam was formerly a Shiv Sainik and had failed to shed his image as a sainik. The party is in a constant state of “self-introspection” since 2014.The INC and it’s leaders like Milind Deora and Randeep Surjewala even after the defeat blamed the voters and the SS-BJP combine instead of some much needed soul searching. The INC is on a ventilator and the dream of the BJP of a “Congress-mukt Bharat” is closer to realization than ever.
- The Nationalist Congress Party:- Drubbing in the NCP bastions of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad has left the party fighting for survival. The party is well and truly over for Sharad Pawar. The party can take solace from the fact that it did better than the MNS in BMC. The party needs some major rebuilding and must do away with the Pawar family and the INC or else the only thing the party would ever win is the Padma Vibhushan.
- Maharashtra Navnirman Sena:-While it will be too early to script MNS’s political obituary, it is also a fact that Raj Thackeray needs to overhaul his party’s strategy if he wants it to play a relevant role in Mumbai, Maharashtra politics. MNS faced a major setback when the party lost Nashik convincingly, the only meaningful corporation where the party was in power. There is no doubt that Raj Thackeray is an excellent orator but Uddhav has proved to be the better of the Thackeray brothers and has managed to position himself as the true heir of Balasaheb Thackeray. When other parties raked up issues like corruption in the BMC and development, MNS’s ploy to utilize ‘Mumbai for Marathis only’ for political gains seems to be failing. MNS must understand that its goons attacking auto drivers, street hawkers from Bihar, UP will not win it popular support. It’s high time that Raj Thackeray rebrands the politics of MNS.
In a nutshell, Maharashtra has been painted saffron, with BJP the biggest gainer. Devendra Fadnavis has managed to establish himself as the tallest leader in the state. The Shiv Sena needs to understand it’s no longer the big brother in Maharashtra. BJP has a good chance of sending it’s mayor to the BMC even without the support of Shiv Sena. The results will ultimately bring stability to the state government and the stage is all set for Devendra Fadnavis to fulfil his promises and bring about much needed development and transparency in BMC and other corporations. To stop the BJP-SS juggernaut the INC, MNS and the NCP will need to go under some serious rebuilding to have any chance of making a comeback in Maharashtra politics.