Maharashtra: Sena-BJP split will steal Congress’ chance of revival

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Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan
All is not well between BJP and Shiv Sena. The two old allies who broke their alliance in State before the Maharashtra Assembly polls were continuing with their alliance at the national level politics but it seems the 25-year-old love marriage is heading towards a court divorce now. A break-up would be a loss not only for the saffron allies but also for the Congress which was a ruling party in the State for the 15 years.

The grand old party which suffered a humiliating defeat in the recently concluded Assembly polls is closely watching the developments and praying for the continuance of the alliance.

Congress' fate depends on Sena's decision

Having won less than 20% of the total seats in the Assembly polls, Congress faced great humiliation. With 44 seats in its kitty, the party stood at third position behind Shiv Sena. Now, its fate clearly depends on Sena's decision on its alliance with BJP. Sena's move to snap its ties can put a serious question mark on the Congress' future.
Broken alliance would mean, the Sena playing the role of main Opposition party in the State, following this, the Congress which is struggling hard to maintain its identity in State politics would be pushed into a corner.

An embittered Sena could resort to aggressive politics and further stealing the show out of Congress's hand.

Congress needs to revive lost ground by acting as strong Opposition

The continuance of saffron alliance is the best possible situation for the Congress after its ouster from power in Maharashtra. The Assembly poll clearly indicates that the grand old party has lost its ground. The party which has dominated State politics ever since it was created in 1960, came down from 206 seats in 2009 polls to a mere 44 in 2014. The defeat has been so bad that junior ally NCP, which parted ways ahead of the state polls, finished just one seat behind.

Under such circumstances, the Congress needs to revive its base in the State which it can only does by acting as a strong Opposition, by fighting with the BJP Government.

Uddhav's aggressive approach could spoil the game for Congress

The troubled ties between the saffron allies took a wrong turn on Sunday when Sena MP Anil Desai, who was party's pick for a Ministerial berth in Modi Government, decided to boycott the expansion of the Cabinet. Later on Sunday, Uddhav Thackeray said the party will prefer to sit in the Opposition if the BJP sought help from the NCP and may abstain from trust vote.

And on Monday, when the Assembly Session began, the Shiv Sena legislators were seen sitting in Opposition benches. Clearly, the Sena was trying to build up pressure on the BJP following a deadlock in talks over Ministerial berth allocation.

Thackeray also hinted the Sena would also rethink its stand on continuing with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. He has left a two-day window for a resolution. If Uddhav remains adamant to his demands and decide to sit in Opposition, the prospects of Congress' revival would be less.

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