The “maha” (giant) political mess in Maharashtra, which, 19 days after election results, has been placed under President’s Rule, is a signifier of two things.
First, the opposition is now open to unlikely alliances to keep the BJP at bay. And second, regional imperatives are now driving the Congress party’s decision-making away from the Gandhi family and the rootless leaders that make up the Delhi durbar of the party high command.
How the BJP lost the plot of accommodating regional allies is apparent from the fact that despite their pre-poll alliance, the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray balked at forming a government with the BJP.
Thackeray prefers to navigate, instead, the uncertain, choppy waters of trying to form a government with parties who are at total ideological variance with the Sena.
This, despite the Sena-BJP alliance scoring a clear-cut majority and regardless of the three-decade all-weather alliance of the two parties. The Sena was the BJP’s first ally, and no amount of spin by the BJP’s embedded media can take away from the fact that the party was unable to form government in Maharashtra.
Thackeray’s total disenchantment with the current leadership of the BJP is in spite of the fact that it jeopardises the Sena’s control of the cash-rich Mumbai civic body. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has a budget of more than Rs. 30,000 crores and is the traditional source of Sena’s strength.