The BJP in Maharashtra has been on an accelerated growth path since the party fared successfully in the 2014 general elections where it managed to win on 23 out of the total 24 Parliamentary Constituencies it contested on. Now the recent verdict in the 2019 general election where NDA emerged victorious on 41(23 BJP + 18 SS) out of the total 48 LS constituencies in the state, the path for the BJP surely looks good for the upcoming state elections later this year.
In the last assembly elections BJP without its 25 year old alliance partner faced the assembly elections and emerged victorious on 122 seats, seeing a massive jump from just 46 seats last assembly elections. With the maximum number of seats in the assembly and re-negotiated alliance with the Shiv Sena, BJP took top post in the state with Devendra Fadnavis becoming the CM. This time around too, speculations over stability of BJP-SS alliance in the state are ripe, however under prevailing political conditions it is likely the state will undergo the state elections with BJP-SS on one side facing Cong-NCP and probably also with Raj Thackeray’s MNS joining the UPA cause.
Nonetheless BJP evidently has an edge when it comes to the state politics, with the momentum gained from the Lok Sabah verdict in May coupled with the work done under the leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis, BJP enjoys a comfortable electoral support in the state. Maharashtra under the leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis in the state has been seeing positive trends towards execution of a number of development schemes. Vidarbha, a region of eastern Maharashtra, which had for long been on the back seat of Maharashtra’s political agenda, has taken the spotlight after unprecedented development in the region after BJP formed the government in State; The National and State governments with their combined efforts have been successful in implementing ambitious development programs in the state. Several infrastructure projects like, Mumbai monorail, mass housing scheme of Navi Mumbai town planning authority City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra’s (Cidco), metro projects in Mumbai and Pune and others have also added to the popularity of the BJP. The state also recently got Rs 41,000 crore in infrastructure projects.
Devendra Fadnavis over the past few years has surely emerged as one of the most effective Chief Ministers in India, giving his critics a run for their money. Maharashtra, for the last 5 years under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis has witnessed massive steps forward in several critical domains like Agriculture, Water Resources and others.
On the other end of the spectrum for the Congress and NCP these assembly elections are nothing short of an existential battle, with senior leaders losing on erstwhile strongholds of respective parties. Several senior leaders form the opposition has also jumped ships taking note of the situation in their parties. Other than leaders switching parties in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, other names of senior NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Ramraje Nimbalkar, and Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP) leader Narayan Rane have been doing the rounds in this regard over the past few days, Satara NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale’s meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai on Tuesday evening has further accelerated speculations. The LS election results also point out towards the traditional Maratha vote shifting away from the NCP. With traditional vote bank shifting allegiance and party losing hold in Western Maharashtra, the road ahead for NCP is surely difficult. Stand of the Congress and the NCP regarding legislative developments in Jammu and Kashmir is also poised to further transfer votes from the UPA to the NDA. Senior leader of the Congress Ashok Chavan had lost from Nanded which was thought of as a strong hold of the party. These developments are poised to have a demoralizing effect on party cadre of both Congress and NCP; consequently which may lead to lead inefficient election management by party members further worsening the prospects of UPA in Maharashtra or a total collapse.
Jumping of ships by many tall leaders in Maharashtra is indicative of declining support for the opposition and further increasing positive sentiment for NDA. However with the elections nearing in several other factors are sure to impact the final results; however for the BJP the main agenda would surely be to project the developmental work done under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis and maintain the victory momentum.