PAWAR PLAY … Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress join hands to form govt in Maharashtra; to meet guv

MUMBAI: The newly formed three-party alliance of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress would approach Governor Koshyari on Saturday afternoon to stake claim for formation of a ministry in Maharashtra, with the Shiv Sena likely getting the CM post. 
The BJP, which has 105 legislators in the assembly, is finding itself in an unenviable situation. It looks like, its calculations have gone wrong. 
Since the three parties together have a majority of MLAs in the assembly, it would be difficult for the governor not to invite them for ministry formation. The Shiv Sena has 56 legislators, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44 in a house of 288.  Since the Sena has more legislators than the other two, the CM post could naturally be claimed by it, and veteran politician Sharad Pawar will, worse come to worse, be game with this. He sees that being part of the government  is the best option for him and his party in the present circumstances.
The three parties have agreed on a minimum programme to base the governance of the state on. It will have heavy emphasis on the farm sector, with lakhs of crores being promised to farmers by way of subsidy and other benefits after the three-party government is formed.
It now turns out that it was Sharad Pawar who gave the Shiv Sena the courage to take on the BJP, by promising Uddhav Thackeray that the NCP would back the Sena and that he –Pawar — would also rope in the Congress to support a non-BJP government in the state. Openly, Pawar took the line that the people’s mandate for his party was to sit in the Opposition. Now, Pawar pretends that he changed his mind to avoid a dissolution of the state assembly.
It looks like, the BJP was caught napping for now. If the government is formed by the three-party alliance, chances are that it will survive. Sharad Pawar has as much of leeway with both the Sena and the Congress leaderships. By hindsight, the BJP is now realizing the folly of projecting Devendra Fadnavis for a second term. He could not establish a rapport with the masses during the five years he headed the government, and looked to Delhi for support and victory for the party on a platter. 
The pressure from the RSS on the BJP reportedly left Amit Shah and Modi to keep Fadnavis in the front.  The same with Manoharlal Khattar in Haryana. He somehow managed to form government again, though, with the support of a newly sprung up pro-Jat political establishment. At state level, the BJP failed to project strong leaders, the party hoped to ride on the charisma of PM Modi. However, when it came to parliament polls, the people overwhelmingly supported the BJP, to give Modi another term. They did not want to give the BJP a second chance in these two states. 
A similar scenario is developing in poll-bound Jharkhand too, where the BJP might lose power this time, and the Congress might stage a come-back. Elections are round the corner in Delhi too to the state assembly, and Kejriwal might not enjoy the kind of backing he enjoyed last time, when his party swept the polls. It could be the BJP which might give the AAP a tough fight this time there.

In the case of Maharashtra, all eyes are now on Amit Shah too. What is he up to? Will he take out the aces up his sleeves, or sit back and sulk? — IHN-NN

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