BJP & Sena, Kiss and Make Up; and Gov­ern

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page Ict Trade -

The BJP has done ex­ceed­ingly well in Ma­ha­rash­tra’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, al­though it nar­rowly trails the Shiv Sena in Mum­bai. The Sena and the BJP, hav­ing demon­strated their in­de­pen­dent might in their re­spec­tive spheres of in­flu­ence, should kiss and make up now, and fo­cus on run­ning the state gov­ern­ment and lo­cal bod­ies jointly and well. Sena boss Ud­dhav Thackeray has shown his Sena ri­val MNS its place, demon­strated the party’s clout in Mum­bai per se and his own abil­ity to lead his par­ty­men. But he must ac­cept that the BJP’s show­ing has been noth­ing short of stel­lar in Mum­bai and across Ma­ha­rash­tra. The Sena and the BJP now have a re­al­is­tic as­sess­ment of each other’s strength, enough to re­cal­i­brate their al­liance and move on to­gether. The BJP will gain in Ut­tar Pradesh, too, from its rel­a­tive suc­cess in Ma­ha­rash­tra. While the prime min­is­ter did not men­tion de­mon­eti­sa­tion in his state­ment on the Ma­ha­rash­tra re­sults, and cited de­vel­op­ment and good gov­er­nance as the BJP’s source of pop­u­lar sup­port, there is no gain­say­ing that the re­sults dent the claim that peo­ple have been se­ri­ously put off by de­mon­eti­sa­tion. The mes­sage will not be lost on Ut­tar Pradesh’s vot­ers, even if it does not de­ci­sively in­flu­ence their vot­ing pref­er­ences. The Congress has much to learn. One, it must come to terms with the fact that af­ter the death of Vi­las­rao Desh­mukh five years ago, it has no cred­i­ble leader in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Two, ap­point­ing peo­ple like San­jay Nirupam, who de­fected from the Sena, to po­si­tions like Mum­bai party chief pays no div­i­dends; loy­al­ists like Gu­ru­das Ka­mat might have done a bet­ter job. The NCP is also los­ing ground. Raj Thackeray’s MNS, once as­sumed to be ‘real’ heir of Balasa­heb’s legacy, has been shown up to have no elec­toral heft.

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