The impressive victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has come as a big boost for the party in Maharashtra. The success of the party in Maharashtra is crucial at the all-India level since the state has as many as 48 Lok Sabha seats, second only to the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
BJP's Maharashtra woes
The BJP's problem in Maharashtra is that it is not strong enough to secure a majority in the assembly on its own. Earlier, it was dependent on the Shiv Sena. After the last assembly elections, the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray insisted on the chief minister's post, which the BJP was not willing to concede. The result was that Thackeray joined hands with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and became the chief minister. Not to be outdone, the BJP pulled down Thackeray's coalition by engineering a split in the Sena. Not satisfied with that, the BJP split the NCP as well. Now the party has a comfortable position in the assembly thanks to the shrewd politics played by its Devendra Fadnavis.
BJP cannot ensure standalone electoral victory in Maharashtra
But its problem is that its organisation is not strong enough to ensure a decent standalone electoral victory. It is led by a politically weak state president, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, who only recently caused a huge embarrassment to the party by flying down to Macau and splurging a lot of moolah on gambling. While the OBCs can be expected to back the party, the Marathas are unlikely to vote for it because of its failure to grant them reservations in matters of government jobs and education.
Will the mood change after Ram Temple inauguration?
But the party is hoping that the inauguration of the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22 will set the mood for the Lok Sabha elections. However, the party needs to do much more than build a temple to secure a sizable number of the 48 Lok Sabha seats next year. Good governance is certainly one of the things that the voters in Maharashtra are expecting from it.