MUMBAI: Maharashtra is stuck in a peculiar state where the two pre-poll allies have enough numbers to form government, yet none of them has staked its claim. On the other hand, the BJP that fell short of six seats in Haryana cobbled up the numbers in a couple of days.
The point of contention remains the distribution of key portfolios and sharing the Chief Minister’s post, which the BJP has refused to part with. As Shiv Sena called off Tuesday’s meeting with BJP General Secretary and close aide of Amit Shah Bhupendra Yadav, who was tasked to negotiate with the Sena, here are the ways Mission 145 can be achieved (Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats).
* Scenario 1 : BJP + Independents + smaller parties
Let’s start with the most improbable scenario. The BJP has bagged 105 seats on its own in the 288-member House. It needs 40 more seats to be able to form a government on its own, regardless of Sena. If the BJP is able to bag all 13 independents, which looks tough at the moment for BJP, the number goes up to 118. The saffron party would still need 27 seats. But all smaller parties, which includes the BJP’s ideological adversary All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and CPI(M) – all put together are coming at 16. In that rarest of the rare situation where the BJP will have even Owaisi and Yechury backing BJP, the saffron party can’t form the government on its own.
* Scenario 2 : BJP + Sena
If Scenario 1 was most improbable, this one is the most probable. Even on Tuesday night, BJP’s Bhupendra Yadav and Chandarkant Dada Patil were slated to come on the negotiating table with Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Subhash Desai, which now stands called off. The Sena and BJP are known to be warring partners who have done business with each other in spite of the Sena’s mouthpiece targeting none less than Prime Minister Narednra Modi. Given its track record, and also the way the two sealed a deal after more than a month of negotiation before 2019 general election, Sena-BJP government is the most practical scenario where both together have 160 seats, 15 above the halfway mark. A BJP Union minister who has family relationship with Matoshree, the residence of Thackerays, insisted that he is hopeful Scenario 2 will emerge as the final scenario.
Possibility: Most likely
* Scenario 3: Sena + Outside support of NCP & Congress
This sounds ideologically off track but politics, as they say, is an art of exploring improbabilities. With 54 seats of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party and 44 seats of Indian National Congress giving outside support to a Shiv Sena government, for the first time ever a Thackeray can be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, a state where young Aditya’s grandfather was known to be the kingmaker.
Given the acrimonious relationship with the BJP, it easy for Congress to lend outside support to even Shiv Sena to keep BJP away. Congress MP Hussain Dalwai told IANS, “We can think of supporting Sena, but it has to take the call first”.
And the dragging of Pawar’s name in the cooperative bank Scam just ahead of the state election that pumped in a new lease of life in the 79-year-old leader to fight the BJP also provides good enough reason to Sharad Pawar to lend outside support to an Aditya Thackeray-led government where BJP will sit in the opposition.
* Scenario 4: BJP running a minority government
In 2014, BJP ran a short minority government when Shiv Sena acted pricey. For days, Sena sat in the opposition side as Pawar’s NCP provided a breather to Fadnavis-led BJP’s minority government. Given the situation today, it’s a deja vu for the state and the party. Also, given ED’s allegations against Sharad and Ajit Pawar, an outside support to a minority BJP government can make things easy for the Pawar duo.
So, what scenario will emerge as the final scenario? BJP’s Mumbai Spokesperson Suresh Nakhua told IANS, “There’s a saying which goes like this: ‘If you are with us, with you. If you are not with us, without you. If you are against us, in spite of you.’ It will be BJP government and BJP CM, I can assure you. Rest is all are meaningless.”