With a political ‘coup’ in Maharashtra aimed at damaging for good the political future of Uddhav Thackeray, the Bharatiya Janata Party gets a leg-up on its rivals ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and will be in power simultaneously in the three big states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra that send 168 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
Sources in the BJP told News18 that the party has a “mega development plan” ready for Maharashtra that involves reviving big infrastructure projects that are stuck and projecting in 2024 to the voters a pan-India development model stretching from Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh.
The ‘coup’ also underlines a key principle of the current BJP regime to not give a second chance for redemption to “back-stabbers” and hit back hard at them, party sources said, in a clear reference to Uddhav Thackeray.
Being in power in UP, Maharashtra, and Bihar at the same time for the BJP is a repeat of a similar situation ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections when the NDA was in government in all the three big states and won 144 out of these 168 constituencies to notch up a record 352 seats in the Lok Sabha.
Before 2019, the party had formed a government with Nitish Kumar in 2017 in Bihar after he broke his alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD. The BJP also came to power in UP that year after a long hiatus. It had a government then in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena before the latter walked out of the alliance after the 2019 assembly polls.
“Unnatural political alliances with conflicting political ideologies do not last. Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad tried it in Bihar in 2015, won the state elections, but the alliance collapsed with Kumar returning to the BJP fold. A similar case was the Shiv Sena’s opportunistic alliance with the Congress and NCP that has seen the Sena implode over the core issue of Hindutva and a majority of 39 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs deserting Uddhav’s side,” a senior BJP leader told News18.
While there was some speculation that the BJP could be open to siding with the Shiv Sena again to form the government, sources in the saffron party say this was never on the cards. In fact, the BJP always maintained that the mandate was for it in the last Maharashtra elections given its pre-poll alliance with the Sena winning the majority easily.
The top BJP leadership, sources say, would “never forgive Uddhav Thackeray” for ditching the party to go with the Congress and NCP.
Hence, the parting of as many as 39 MLAs from the Shiv Sena has now put a critical question mark on the political future of Uddhav Thackeray, his hold over the party symbol and name, and the after-effects of this would show in the upcoming polls in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has been a major stronghold of the Thackerays for decades.
The BJP has lived up to the saying “revenge is a dish best served cold” with an audacious move to push Uddhav Thackeray towards a future of political oblivion.