Manohar Joshi will be the first non-Congressman to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. That is in case the Congress Party and the Governor of Maharashtra don't indulge in any monkey business to deny him the honour. Doubts persists in some quarters, though it unlikely the Prime Minister in his straitened circumstances will court further disaster than he can possibly handle by hijacking the popular verdict in Maharashtra. For, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine may have technically fallen short of a majority by a couple of votes, but it is beyond dispute that the Congress Party has been roundly rejected by the people. Therefore, it must sit in the opposition even if all its rebels and other newly-elected independents are willing to back its claim to form the ministry.
Doubtless, there will be some selling and buying of loyalites, for, without that the combine cannot expect to prove its majority on the floor of the House. This is unfortunate, but probably in these permissive times unavoidable. Sharad Pawar, one recalls, had failed to get the majority in the last election and had gone about forming the Government with the help of rebels and independents. The Sena -BJP combine probably will do the same. The horse-trading was wrong then. And it is wrong now.
The leaders of the combine will do well not to ape the Congress. This is as good a time as any for them to begin by not trading in MLAs.
Since the Governor is bound to call Joshi to form the next Government.