BJP had barely recuperated from the allegations of illegitimately wining the floor test in Maharashtra, that Sharad Pawar, President of Nationalist Congress Party, has dropped a bombshell. To recall NCP had offered its unconditional support to BJP and in the assembly neither said yes nor no in voice vote. The wily character he is, he has already started exerting pressure on BJP. He in a rally today has asked his party men to be ready for snap polls. This has come as a surprise to many but not to those who know Pawar (including the undersigned). In many articles I have said that he is an unreliable ally and can’t be trusted.
BJP which was thinking of running a minority govt. with outside support of NCP is now in shock. Talks between its old ally Shiv Sena have failed and Sena is now the main opposition party in Maharashtra. BJP will have to now go back to the negotiating table with Sena if it has to run a stable govt. Sena is grinning! So is the Congress. Many believe it is part of Pawar pressure tactics to put NCP men in cabinet and formally ally with BJP. For BJP this will be a big risk and they won’t take it. They can’t take it, it will be like cheating people.
BJP govt. has announced to build a memorial of Bala Saheb Thackeray. This was seen as its efforts to woo and win back Sena. Sena now has the upper hand in negotiations. It will bargain hard and may even get deputy chief minister post.
First and foremost both Congress and Sena will build pressure on Governor to force BJP for a fresh trust vote. They may also bring a no confidence motion and ask the speaker to go for a division of votes instead of voice vote. This will put pressure on BJP as it cannot rely on NCP to pact with Sena.
A section of BJP may feel that they should not budge to Sena and run the govt. as long as it can. Whenever NCP pulls the plug it can go back to public like a crying baby and get sympathy votes. This section is confident that BJP will get majority if snap polls happen. Mind you it is the same group which said it will get majority on its own, but didn’t happen. Whether this section is in majority in the party or minority will drive BJP’s next course of action. Interesting times ahead in Maharashtra. This potpourri never seems to end.
What made Pawar make such a statement? He might be unhappy at BJP statements that they will act against corrupt NCP ministers despite their support, or he might have got a good deal from somewhere else or it is just an old age syndrome where old people forget what they have said before and make contradicting statements. Only god knows!