A small civic election has ensured that there will be distrust between Congress and NCP
Prahlad Rao | July 17, 2015 | New Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata Party will continue to grow and Shiv Sena will remain confined to one state or say to Mumbai. Apart from being a national party, there are other reasons; especially the art of forging partnership makes the BJP powerful and the Sena a sore loser.
After a patient game the BJP became a ruling partner in Jammu and Kashmir and continues to keep company with a party that is at the opposite end of the political ideology. The compromise or an astute political strategy has given the BJP a place in history and power in the border state.
The party does not look for big pie always. The BJP, that was just a two-party block in parliament once, does make local adjustments to break the opposition. This week it teamed up the arch rival the Congress to share power at a humble municipality. The position does not seem to be the ultimate goal of BJP. It has created a wedge between the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra. A divided opposition will benefit state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Days after the Congress unexpectedly joined hands with the BJP to gain control over Gondia zilla parishad, the Congress-NCP alliance that was needling BJP's chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, has virtually collapsed in Maharashtra.
The split was visible on the floor of the house when Congress boycotted the proceedings, NCP legislators participated in the discussion on complete loan waiver for aggrieved farmers.
A week ago, the ruling BJP was wiped out in a keenly contested election to the Bhandara and Gondia zilla parishads. This, despite the fact that Fadnavis and Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari had extensively campaigned in both the districts.
Congress and NCP together got a clear majority in the two zilla parishads. It was decided that the party which has got more seats will be entitled to the president's post.
For election to the Bhandara zilla parishad, NCP supported Congress. As a result, its nominee was elected as president and that of NCP as vice-president. In the election to the Gondia zilla parishad president, NCP was expecting Congress to adhere to the agreement. But to NCP leadership’s discomfort, the Congress nominee was elected as president and for the vice-president's post, a BJP nominee was elected following Congress' support.
Gondia Congress legislator Gopal Agarwal, who is accused of supporting BJP, denied his role in the episode. "I always abide by Congress high command's order. In the present case, the decision to support BJP was taken by zilla parishad members. I have no control over them. It appears that there was discontent among Congress members against NCP. Hence, they voted for the BJP nominee," said Agarwal.
Coming down heavily on Congress, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, "Congress has to choose between NCP and BJP. It's already a known fact that senior Congress and Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil is hobnobbing with the CM. Now, people of Maharashtra have seen the real face of Congress."
With its purpose served, the BJP can feel satisfied while the Sena cries foul. Taunting the BJP over joining hands with arch-rival Congress in Gondia Zilla Parishad, the Shiv Sena said in politics it is not known when friends become enemies and vice versa, and cautioned its senior alliance partner that though the ZP tie-up may comfort it in near future, the thorns of its actions could prick it later.
"You never know who can join hands with whom in politics. Friends of 25 years can become enemies, and enemies from birth can suddenly become friends. Everyone is surprised with the alliance of a pure party like BJP with the Congress," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said today.
Taking a jibe at BJP, it said, "it seemed that there was no reason to doubt the intentions of this clean, cultured and soft party because it took its lessons from the Sangh."
Taunting the BJP, the Sena further said, "taking a decision of this magnitude requires a lot of courage. Our ally has shown that it has the courage. We do not have any doubts that Maharashtra's problems like unemployment, farmers' woes will be solved with the blink of an eye."
"BJP is our friend and hence it is our duty to tell things that will benefit them. The whole of Vidarbha should not become Gondia and Bhandara, because it is Vidarbha that has made BJP what it is today. Do not make a lapse in judgement about the sentiments of the people of Vidarbha," the editorial cautioned.
In Gondia, the NCP recently emerged winner 20 seats in the 53-member Zilla Parishad. The BJP bagged 17 and Congress 16 seats. However, Congress had a post-poll alliance with BJP and bagged the ZP president's post while the saffron party got the vice president's post, leaving NCP out of power.
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