Shiv Sena’s Crumbling House Vs Fadnavis’ Long Game
Almost three years after the mandate he had earned was taken from him, Devendra Fadnavis comes out looking stronger than ever.
On Monday (20 June), elections to Maharashtra Legislative Council took place for 10 seats. BJP won all five seats where it had put up its candidate indicating another instance of cross-voting.
After the results came out, a number of Shiv Sena ministers and MLAs were found to be untraceable, leaving the MVA baffled.
MLC elections are held, for the upper house of the state assembly, in states that have bicameral legislatures.
In Maharashtra, there is a total of 78 seats in the legislative council. Out of the total, 30 members are elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly.
As per the present strength of the assembly, BJP has 106 while Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has 55, 52 and 44 MLAs respectively. Other parties and independents have 25 MLAs.
Cross-Voting in BJP’s Favour
BJP had enough numbers to win four seats in the MLC elections. For the fifth seat, it needed 22 more votes to seal the deal. MVA, which had put six candidates, two each from three alliance partners, was in a sound position to win all six seats.
As per reports, BJP got 26 votes from outside the party helping it bag the fifth seat as well.
Not only did independents vote for BJP’s candidate, but some of the MLAs and ministers from Shiv Sena also appear to have shifted their votes to the party in opposition.
Shiv Sena led MVA on Toes
Once the results of the election were declared, Shiv Sena sounded alarm bells, suspecting attempts to topple the government.
Eknath Shinde, a senior Shiv Sena leader, went missing in action and so did 10-12 Shiv Sena MLAs considered close to him. It was reported that they are lodged in a hotel at Surat amidst heavy security.
All the alliance partners called their MLAs to meet as rumours of the government losing majority gathered pace.
Fadnavis’s Long Game
Leader of Opposition and former Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis has come out on top numerous times in the past too in contests of realpolitik.
He has been seen to be vocal and straightforward in communication on Hindutva issues, unlike the Shiv Sena, which continues to lose steam on that front.
Fadnavis has also been steadfast in taking the governance issues, and allegations of corruption among the top leaders of MVA government, including Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, closer to their logical conclusions.
In the recent Rajya Sabha polls too, it was under his leadership that the Maharashtra unit of the BJP ensured that their candidates win their seats, even when numbers were not in the party’s favour.
In Goa elections held in 2022, Fadnavis, who was BJP’s Goa election in-charge, led the talks for forging an alliance between the BJP and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), TMC’s pre-poll alliance partner, to form the government in the state.
The back-to-back instances of MVA MLAs voting for BJP candidates appears to have rattled the state government. With Shiv Sena’s MLAs deserting the party at crucial junctures, it is well established that the direction Sena has taken to stay in power does not have many takers within the party.
Fadnavis, on the other hand, has proven his calibre by staying on course as a credible opposition.
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