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Maharashtra impetus to opposition fightback

By weaning away BJP’s largest, oldest and ideologically closest ally, the national opposition has signalled to regional parties that strategic tie-ups can cut across fault lines if required.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 27, 2019, 11.18 AM IST
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AJIT-PAWAR
Sources said even Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule’s husband Sadanand spoke to Ajit and asked him to resign.
Mumbai: New Delhi: The national opposition’s triumph in the see-saw battle for Mumbai has provided it a strategic breakthrough against BJP and the Centre. By weaning away BJP’s largest, oldest and ideologically closest ally, the national opposition has signalled to regional parties that strategic tie-ups can cut across fault lines if required.

Incidentally, it was Maharashtra that gave Congress an unexpected breakthrough in 1999, after it suffered its third consecutive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. When BJP and Sena were caught in a leadership tussle, Congress-NCP, along with Independents, joined hands to form a government just months after Sharad Pawar bitterly parted ways over Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.

It laid the foundation of Congress march to form the UPA regime by 2004. Many Congress leaders keenly await to see how the current scene would impact national and state politics. “NCP-Congress along with Sena have shown that we have the wherewithal to counter BJP operations, powered by Delhi. The invincibility of BJP leadership’s politicking and manoeuvering has been breached,” said a senior Congress functionary. Congress’ Abhishek Singhvi said ‘the offices of the President, Prime Minister and Raj Bhavan were dragged into the Maharashtra battle’.

What was on display in Mumbai was the combined might and skills of Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Ahmed Patel to lead the fight back of their respective parties against BJP’s ‘Chanakyas’, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi snubbing the ideologically agonised and the doubting Thomases in her party. In the thick of action, none missed Rahul Gandhi’s hibernation during the battle.

The ‘spoiler’ tweets from two of his Mumbai ‘pals’, Sanjay Nirupam and Milind Deora, only evoked ridicule. The political landscape also underwent a change with addition of Maharashtra to major non-NDA ruled states which include MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Bengal, Kerala, TN, AP, Telangana and Odisha. BJP holds power in UP, Bihar (in alliance with JDU), Haryana, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Karnataka and smaller states like Himachal, Uttarakhand, Goa and all northeast states, along with regional parties, except Mizoram. The more balanced picture is likely to add interest to the upcoming assembly polls to Jharkhand and Delhi.

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