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Expert decodes BJP’s 'maha' Maha move

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In making Shinde the CM, the BJP has sent across a message that it didn't grab power for itself!

New Delhi, July 06: Maharashtra witnessed a political roller-coaster in recent weeks which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The more important development was the split in the Shiv Sena and the Thackeray faction not being able to hold its MLAs who eventually joined Eknath Shinde.

Expert decodes BJP’s maha Maha move

A surprise announcement was also made when the BJP decided to give up the post of chief minister to make way for Eknath Shinde, while also making Devendra Fadnavis the deputy chief minister.

OneIndia caught up with Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Vice Chancellor of Jagran Lakecity University and a keen observer of politics, to understand the BJP's move to sacrifice the chief ministerial post.

Was my idea to make Eknath Shinde Maharashtra CM: FadnavisWas my idea to make Eknath Shinde Maharashtra CM: Fadnavis

Dr. Shastri says that the move of the BJP was not to benefit any of the Shiv Sena factions. "I think the BJP move of giving Shinde the post of CM and the taking the deputy CM's post is a result of multiple calculations.

Firstly what this entire issue has done is it has sidelined the Thackeray faction within the Shiv Sena. The Thackeray faction following the previous elections had done the unthinkable in the words of the BJP for refusing to continue with the alliance. They needed to teach the Thackeray faction a lesson," Dr. Shastri opines.

Uddhav Thackeray had then asked for the post of CM for the Shiv Sena and the BJP ultimately ended up doing just that after there was rebellion in the Shiv Sena. The BJP also wants the Shinde faction to be stronger than the Thackeray faction in the wake of the all important BMC elections that are coming up, he also added.

"In the internal war in the Shiv Sena the BJP wanted to get the Shinde faction recognised as the real Shiv Sena. This means that the BJP would deal with a more depleted Shiv Sena in terms of geographical spread. Further by making the Shinde faction stronger, the BJP would continue to assert its dominance in the alliance. The BJP's foothold would also increase in the competition against the NCP and Congress."

Dr. Shastri points out that in recent times, the BJP has gained some flak because of Operation Lotus in Karnataka or what happened in Madhya Pradesh. In a sense they wanted to create a public image that they are not after power. The BJP's messaging is that even though they are a bigger party they have conceded to the Shinde faction. The entire talk that the BJP has grabbed power for itself is to a certain extent negated with this move, he explains.

"I would also say that the BJP has taken an insurance policy that if things go wrong it was under the leadership of Shinde. In case there is a negative fall out in the BMC elections, the BJP has an insurance to back on."

PM Modi, HM Shah assured full support for Maha's development: CM ShindePM Modi, HM Shah assured full support for Maha's development: CM Shinde

The BJP has also managed to send across a message within the party by bringing in Fadnavis as the deputy CM. The fact that a former CM can be made a deputy CM is also message to the party from the central BJP leadership, Dr. Shastri adds.

"There is also a difference between perception and reality. Anyone who has a slight inkling of politics knows who is in control in the Maharashtra government. During the swearing-in-ceremony the cheers were louder for Fadnavis. The crowds that had gathered around Fadnavis was bigger when compared to Shinde. All this amounts to optics."

Eknath Shinde
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Eknath Shinde

When asked about the road ahead for the Shiv Sena, Dr. Shastri says that there is likely to be an intense power struggle. Since Shinde has the government machinery he ha the advantage in the battle for the party. The BMC elections would be a critical test for the Shiv Sena.

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