Alliance for Chance

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar is aiming Chief Ministerial post for his daughter Supriya Sule and his strategy at the time of seat sharing with the Congress Party may be fixed accordingly

By Prabhakar Kulkarni

The Congress has come forward with appeal to all likeminded parties to join its fight against the ruling BJP both at centre and in states. Reciprocating to the grand old party’s call, an alliance is in the making in Maharashtra. But to what extent the alliance against the BJP will succeed depends on the sincerity of the like-minded parties who are expected to remain loyal to the alliance at the time of elections.

The regional scene is not favorable to any one party or alliance group. The BJP has already penetrated in various rural and urban areas through councils and Panchyats. In western Maharashtra, the Congress and NCP has good control in various constituencies. But their internal in-fighting is also severe, which is being exploited by the BJP.

For instance in southern Maharashtra and Kolhapur in particular the NCP’S sitting MP Dhananjay Mahadik is being wooed by the BJP while Sanjay Mandalik, (son of ex-Congress MP Sadashiv Mandalik ) who fought against him on Shivsena ticket is being pushed for the NCP seat by the local NCP leaders. When an award by the late MP Sadashiv Mandlik Trust were being distributed at the hands of the NCP chief Sharad Pawar who came to Kolhapur for two days stay, he did not say anything about the burning controversy but only said that for the political change in the country alliance has to be made with co-operation of all who will join. The dais which was also graced by the BJP government’s nominee and minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar of (Shivsena) the latter declared in the same function that Mandlik will be the Sena candidate in coming Lok Sabha in 2019. Pawar remaining silent and Sena confirming its stand indicated that nothing is certain and the NCP in particular is quite unpredictable in its strategy.

If Congress and NCP will come together and will amicably decide the seat sharing arrangements between the two, their fight will be against the BJP and Sena with their separate candidates in other regions namely, Mumbai, Vidarbha- Marathwada and Konkan.

In Mumbai, Shivsena will harp on ‘Marathi Manoos’ and anti-BJP stance while Congress may gain due to the rift by channeling non-Marathi votes through leaders like Sanjay Nirupam. But non-Marathi votes are likely to be divided between the Congress and the BJP.

But the fresh development is that the BJP chief Amit Shaha has invited a Shivsena MP to Delhi and has offered 140 seats to Shivsena in the Assembly elections so as to avoid any rift in the BJP-Sena alliance in the coming electoral fight against the Congress-NCP. If this fresh strategy not to let Sena be aloof and against the BJP materializes, the scene will be much safer for the ruling BJP or NDA in the state and the country.

In Konkan region Rane factor is still being faced by the BJP. But the Sena’s minister in the cabinet Deepak Kesarkar is quite efficient to face Rane in this turf and alternatively Rane may be asked to support the alliance in the elections so that his proposal will then be considered in the new context. In the Vidarbh-Marathwada region, Congress is having better support, the state Congress chief Ashok Chavan has proved to be successful in gaining control in various organizations as also winning strategy in elections.

Regarding the rural voting in various regions, farmers’ strength is divided between Raju Shetty MP and minister in the cabinet Sadabhau Khot after the split in the ‘Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana’. While Shetty has openly supported the Congress-NCP and the like minded alliance, Khot is advocating the BJP’ s or state government’s line in streamlining pro-farmer projects and expediting the loan waiver scheme. The co-operative structure which is linked with the rural voting, is under the control of Congress-NCP but of late the BJP has penetrated this structure by either entering or supporting the inside groups so as to let them campaign for the BJP or the NDA candidates in coming elections.

In the whole process to what extent Congress and NCP being major anti-BJP forces in the state will form an alliance and will come to compromise after the seat sharing is a crucial issue. This is because Pawar is aiming at the position of a state chief minister for his daughter Supriya Sule and his strategy at the time of seat sharing may be fixed accordingly. To what extent this proposal and the relevant strategy will be acceptable to the Congress leadership and the party aspirants for the same post will be the ultimate deciding factor for the successful alliance of Congress-NCP and the like- minded parties like the Peasants and Workers Party, the Communists and Dalit organizations or parties like Prakash Amebdkar’s Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh which have not yet been quite firmly vocal in the coming election scenario.