NCP's hidden agenda for extending olive branch to BJP in Maharashtra

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar
The election results of 2014 Assembly election created history and records. But what happened after the Maharashtra Assembly election results came out was more surprising.

The NCP which called BJP by many names, suddenly decided to offer unconditional outside support to the BJP. While campaigning, both BJP and NCP were involved in war of words but the equation suddenly changed as soon as the picture became clear that BJP is going to emerge as single largest party in Maharashtra. And the political corridors were suddenly talking about why NCP decided to give support to the party.

Even Shiv Sena did not leave a chance to criticise the party for this decision and said that BJP was a communal party till yesterday but after the elections why this change of mind and words and why lending support to a party whom they had earlier called 'communal.'

"Until yesterday, BJP was a communal force and was mocked to be a party full of half pant wearing individuals by the NCP. They insulted Hindutva by mocking the Sangh's diktat of wearing half pants. Are they now really concerned about providing stability to Maharashtra? They only want to ensure that their corruption is not brought out in front of people," the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

It is not only the Shiv Sena or any other political party but even the layman is surprised by this move.

Those who gave votes to BJP for a change are hurt by the fact that when NCP extended the olive branch, why did not the party outrightly rejected the offer.

They are saddened by the fact that BJP is dragging its feet on NCP support, but then there are others who are sure that BJP will not join hands with the party whose leaders are tainted. BJP's continued silence over the same has given an opportunity to its rivals to say that the party is ready to compromise on its ethics to come to power.

But the point is why the NCP took this decision? Is it party's desire to keep the corruption cases against it at bay or there is any other hidden motives behind this which forced the NCP to turn into friend from foe.

The power play of Pawars - Prevention of Pawars, tainted leaders

There are many tainted leaders in the NCP. The minute the news broke that NCP has given an offer to give outside support to the BJP, majority of people said that NCP leaders are doing this to prevent themselves.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) recently asked for permission for an open inquiry against former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and senior leader Sunil Tatkare in connection with the irrigation scam.

NCP leader Chhagan Bhujal also faces graft charges of irregularities in connection with the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi during his tenure as Public Works Minister.

Is NCP looking towards quid pro quo - A favour in return of favour

Political corridors say that the offer made by the Sharad Pawar-led outfit is to ensure that its "scam-tainted" leaders enjoy full protection. Are they trying to have the government on their side so that the senior NCP leaders facing corruption charges get helped?

However, NCP leader Praful Patel has denied that its offer of support to the BJP had any connection with the charges against his party. "There is no unholy nexus or quid pro quo. These are just rumours and allegations," he said.

"This was an unusual election because all parties contested alone. Everyone targeted the other. Our position is only dictated by our desire for a stable government. We are not asking to be part of the government," said Patel, who was a union minister in the previous UPA government of which NCP was key ally.

And then the jittery Shiv Sena speaks

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Tuesday called the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) "opportunist" for offering outside support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form a government in Maharashtra.

Shiv Sena in an editorial in Saamna, the Sena's mouthpiece, said that the NCP has made this move to save itself.

"Modi himself called it a Natural Corrupt Party. Vinod Tawde warned of sending corrupt leaders to jail. Keeping this in mind, it is crystal clear the reason why Praful Patel is bowing down in front of them," it said.

"We expect transparent and clean State politics. The people loaded with corrupt mud will try to wash their sins in Ganga. We hope that their presence would not pollute the water. This position is in the interest of the state and that is the reason why we are presenting it. After all everyone has to take its own decision," said the editorial, without naming anyone.

Why BJP did not outrightly rejected the offer- Is the party playing mind games?

The offer from NCP to support was understood as they wanted to grab the opportunity, but the question is why did not the saffron party rejected the offer the very moment?

As per experts, the BJP's silence on the issue is basically to mount pressure over Shiv Sena which itself is longing to come to power since two decades. The BJP has maintained its calm on this issue just to tame Shiv Sena's (which severed its ties with the BJP on the eve of election season) arrogance and demands, feel experts. BJP knows that Sena will definitely demand a larger share of the pie than what it actually deserves and that is why BJP is keeping mum to force the former ally to come to its terms, say experts.

This is the reason why the BJP has been consistently saying that it has kept its options open on government formation in Maharashtra.

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