Time to introspect, choose side for Sharad Pawar-led NCP
Pawar’s moves would be closely watched now, especially since the BJP has been poaching his party members.
Losing the support of Dalit voters due to Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi contesting independently means that the NCP has to ponder over its future steps to consolidate this votebank, especially with the Maharashtra assembly polls to be held in November this year. Pawar would also have to deal with family troubles with nephew Ajit Pawar trying to consolidate his hold in the party.
The NCP may try to rope in other Dalit outfits to neutralise the Ambedkar factor. Though it won the same number of seats, the NCP will try to rope in the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for the assembly polls in spite of the MNS not performing up to the mark this time. An NCP- Congress- MNS combination could post a tough challenge for the BJP-Shiv Sena in the assembly polls. Pawar has already started touring drought-hit regions and has blamed the BJP for not doing enough in the state. The NCP got 41 seats in the 2014 assembly elections and Pawar is trying to ensure that the tally is doubled.
LIKELY RELATIONSHIP WITH CENTRE
The BJP’s good performance could raise chances of victory for the Sena-BJP combine in the assembly polls. Despite their ideological differences, Prime Minister Modi has gone out of his way to keep Pawar happy –– be it on the sugar industry issues or any other issue. The exact relation between the two would be revealed only in the run-up or after the assembly polls. If the NCP and Congress loses the assembly polls, then the NCP leadership would have to decide whether to stick with the Congress for another five years and stay out of power at the Centre and state.
Political analyst, Yuvraj Mohite, says with the BJP coming to power, Pawar will stick with the Congress as an alliance partner to take on the BJP-Shiv Sena in the assembly polls. Despite the BJP’s victory this time, the NCP believes that it can upset the apple cart in the assembly polls due to rural unrest. However, if the Congress-NCP does not win the assembly polls, there would be a question mark on Pawar’s future stance. Being out of power in the state and Centre for ten years may make it difficult for the NCP to survive.
It remains to be seen whether he will aligns with the BJP after the Maharashtra assembly polls.