MAHA ‘BLUNDER’ …Did Congress miss a chance to see end of regional rivals NCP and Sena?

MUMBAI: Did the Congress party commit a strategic blunder in propping up the Shiv Sena and the NCP – two prominent regional parties – in its resolve to deny the BJP a second go in governance after this assembly polls? There are those in the Congress who believe it was suicidal on the part of the Congress to be part of the Sena-NCP bandwagon even though it gets a share in the power edifice that is now in the making. 

“In the long run, the Congress would have benefited if the Sena and the NCP were liquidated,” on Congress source said. Clearly, the Congress did not display a long-term perspective, and looked only at short-term gain.

This was an opportunity for the BJP to neutralize the strength of both the Sena and the NCP. It failed for now, but the last word is not heard yet. If the Congress had allowed the BJP to finish off the Shiv Sena first and the NCP then –by breaking them up – the end result could be that the field will be left open to the BJP and the Congress to dominate. However, now, by playing second fiddle to the Shiv Sena and the NCP, the Congress as the third in the rung, lost its high moral pedestal. Also, by allying with two out-and-out allegedly corrupt entities, the stigma will further sully the image of the Congress too.

Worse, the minorities would now look at the Congress with more suspicion than ever. The Muslims always thought the Congress only spoke up for them and did too little. Christians are happy always, as the Congress always encourage them also because of their high educational strengths. Also, keeping Christians in good humour was part of the successive governments’ push by way of international diplomacy too ever since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru. The Sonia Gandhi era saw a further firming up of such a tie-up between the Congress and the Christians. Now, with the Congress sharing power with the Shiv Sena – in a new experiment –, Muslims would look at the Congress with less hope about protecting their interests.

Indications tonight were that Sonia Gandhi will be present for the swearing in ceremony, while Rahul Gandhi might not turn up.

No one however pins a lot of hope on the Sena-led government’s longevity. With the BJP having the largest number of seats in the assembly, 105, it requires less than 40 legislators to pull down this government and form a BJP-led one in due course of time. Discontentment will start brewing in the camps of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress the moment the names of ministers are out. Those who were not given berths might, likely, be in a mood to revolt. The BJP is waiting precisely for this opportunity, it is inferred.

Also, no one know what Ajit Pawar is upto, and what is in his mind. When he sided with BJP and Devendra Fadnavis, it was thought he was playing his games against uncle Pawar. But, when the experiment failed in four days’ time, Ajit simply walked back to the fold of the uncle. He has been re-elected the legislative party leader of the NCP with blessings, yet again, from Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule. 

Supriya was at hand to welcome Ajit Pawar at the swearing in ceremony of new MLAs at the Legislature complex in Mumbai on Thursday, raising many eyebrows. A question that was raised was, will Ajit again ditch uncle and get back to the BJP side with all the NCP MLAs in due course of time.

The CPIM, which acts as the B team of the Congress party, especially under Sitaram Yechury, has extended issue-based support to the government led by the Shiv Sena. The CPIM has one member in the state assembly, amid a substantial number of Independents who won the polls this time. 

Assaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM too has a small representation in the assembly, but it would not back the Sena-led government. Nor would it back a BJP-led government. 

Behind the scene, Sitaram Yechury is already playing the background music for the swearing in of the Sena-NCP-Congress government. –IHN-NN


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