Tuesday's order of the Election Commission of India (ECI) recognising the Nationalist Congress Party faction led by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar as the real NCP has furthered the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is to fractionalise and decimate the opposition. In fact, it is turning the knife further into the opposition.
Anil Deshmukh allege invisible forces responsible for ECI's verdict
Anil Deshmukh of the NCP (Sharad Pawar) has alleged that invisible forces were responsible for the ECI's verdict. The reference obviously was to the ruling BJP. But, whatever be the truth, the fact remains that the BJP is systemically ensuring that Maharashtra does not have a strong opposition which can play spoilsport in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Maharashtra with 48 seats in the Lok Sabha is politically the second most important state next only to Uttar Pradesh. The BJP is hoping to win 40 of the 48 seats in tandem with its allies, the Shiv Sena (Shinde) and NCP (Ajit Pawar).
The BJP led by deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who is regarded as the Machiavelli of Maharashtra, first split the Shiv Sena with the help of Eknath Shinde and his 36 MLAs and pulled down the Uddhav Thackeray government. The strategy, apparently worked out by Union home minister Amit Shah, was to use the Shiv Sena (Shinde) to counter Shiv Sena (UBT) and politically emaciate the latter. The ECI's recognition of the Shiv Sena led by Shinde as the real Shiv Sena delivered a body blow to Uddhav Thackeray. The denial of the Bow & Arrow symbol to Uddhav Thackeray has placed him at a decided disadvantage vis-a-vis the Shiv Sena (Shinde). Thackeray simply does not have the time to popularise the Mashal (Flaming Torch) symbol allotted to him by the ECI. Same is the case with Sharad Pawar from whom the ECI has snatched away the Clock symbol and given it to Ajit Pawar. Election symbols play a crucial part during elections specially in rural areas and denying the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the NCP (Sharad Pawar) their original symbols the ECI has made poll campaigning very tough for these two parties.
After Shiv Sena and NCP, BJP now planning to turn to Congress
After delivering body blows to the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the NCP (Sharad Pawar), the BJP is now planning to turn its attention to the Congress, the third component of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Senior Congress leader Milind Deora has already joined the BJP's ally, Shiv Sena (Shinde), along with a large number of his supporters. Now there are reports that several Congress legislators and activists are being assiduously wooed by the BJP. The latter is okay even if these persons defect to the Shiv Sena (Shinde) or the NCP (Ajit Pawar) so long as the MVA is weakened. The state Congress' biggest problem is that its president Nana Patole was earlier in the BJP. Apart from encouraging defections, the BJP is also consistently using the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to target influential leaders of the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the NCP (Sharad Pawar) like Ravindra Waikar, Anil Parab, Sanjay Raut and Rohit Pawar.
Thanks to the machinations of the BJP, the MVA is in complete disarray. Even though Uddhav Thackeray is picking up the pieces and trying to rebuild his badly bruised party, the NCP (Sharad Pawar) and the Congress have no strategy to counter the BJP. The MVA is a part of the INDIA Alliance. With Nitish Kumar joining hands with the BJP and Mamata Banerjee going it alone in W Bengal, the Alliance is already weakened and this has, in turn, hit the MVA badly.