Maharashtra Lok Sabha Election Results 2024: Within 24 Hours Of Outcome, Deep Turmoil Witnessed In State Politics

June 06,2024

Within 24 hours of the Lok Sabha election results being declared there was deep turmoil in Maharashtra politics on Wednesday. Visibly upset over the poor performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced his resignation from government.

"I have requested my top bosses to relieve me from government responsibilities and permit me to work exclusively for the party organisation." He revealed at a presser in the state party headquarters in Nariman Point. Interestingly, it is not clear to whom he has sent in his papers. Certainly not to the governor.

In another sensational development, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray stayed put in Mumbai and skipped the crucial meeting of the INDIA alliance in Delhi. Instead he dispatched a three-member delegation led by his close aide Sanjay Raut.

This resulted in massive speculation in political circles that Uddhav, who has nine M.P.s under his belt, is being assiduously wooed by the BJP in a bid to strengthen the NDA government in New Delhi. According to sources, the BJP, which is in a desperate situation now, may even offer the chief ministership to Uddhav. If he accepts the offer, then he will be the CM only for a few months.

Apparently, the BJP is inclined to offer the top post post the assembly elections which are almost round the corner. If this happens then it will be a case of the wheel of justice turning fully. The BJP led by Fadnavis had effected a vertical split in the Shiv Sena and brought down the MVA government led by Uddhav on June 29 last year.

Uddhav said "They took everything from me. My government, a section of my party and our symbol." Uddhav had parted company with the BJP when the latter was not willing to concede the chief ministership to him and then he joined the Maha ViKas Aghadi, which gladly backed him for the CM's post.

He was sworn in on November, 2019, but much of his tenure was eaten up by the covid pandemic. However, the situation now is drastically different from what it was after the assembly polls of 2019. The big question is whether Uddhav will join a government which has the presence of his arch rival Eknath Shinde in it.

The BJP may not jettison Shinde, but ask him to reconcile his differences with Uddhav in his own interest. There are reports that Shinde's son Shrikant, who was re-elected with an impressive margin in Kalyan Lok Sabha seat, may be accommodated in the Union council of ministers as a sop to Shinde Sr.

According to observers, Uddhav might find it difficult to accept chief ministership from the BJP after criticising Modi at every election meeting. But his eyes are now set on winning the upcoming assembly elections. He is also keen on moving out of the shadow of Sharad Pawar and continued alliance with the Congress will pose problems in both BMC and assembly elections. In any case, politics is the art of the possible.

In 2019 the BJP had won 23 of the 25 LS seats it had contested. Its then ally Shiv Sena had contested 23 seats and bagged 18 of them. Mr Fadnavis, who was then the CM, had rightly come in for encomiums.

However, this time around the BJP went to the polls with the factions of the Shiv Sena and the NCP in tow and won only nine seats. A pathetic performance despite all the resources at its command. In fact, the party could not conclude seat-sharing talks till the eleventh hour. Its lack of preparation can be gauged from the fact that it could not find a candidate for the prestigious Mumbai South seat. Its allies won eight of the 19 seats they contested.

The party is the third member of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance formed after the 2019 state poll won by the BJP and undivided Sena, which broke over power-sharing talks.

The Sena-NCP-Congress' haul of 30 of Maharashtra's 48 seats helped the opposition INDIA bloc in slashing the BJP's advantage from earlier national elections. The BJP - which claimed 282 seats in the 2014 election and 303 in the 2019 exercise - won just 240 this time.

The BJP's poor showing in Uttar Pradesh (winning less than half its 80 seats after claiming 62 in 2019) and Bengal, where it was humbled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool, as well as an expected rout in Tamil Nadu, contributed to the poor result.

That 240 is 32 seats short of the majority mark, meaning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party must now actively rely on NDA partners like Mr Shinde and Ajit Pawar's parties.

Of course, losing Mr Shinde and Ajit Pawar's 17 MPs will not immediately endanger the BJP government - as it would if Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and Nitish Kumar's JDU walk out - but it would make it harder for Mr Modi and the BJP to run a government.

Maharashtra Assembly Election

Meanwhile, Mr Fadnavis' resignation also comes months before Maharashtra's next Assembly election. In the 2019 the BJP won 105 of the state's 288 seats.

The Sena got 56, the NCP 54, and the Congress 44; the latter was its best return since winning 82 seats in the 2009 election, when Ashok Chavan was at the helm. Mr Chavan quit and joined the BJP this year and was made a Rajya Sabha MP.