What happened in Maharashtra is akin to what had happened in Jammu and Kashmir few years back. In any case the situation has led to central rule taking everyone with a surprise. There were speculations that the two outcomes which seemed possible till last night-either the NCP forms the government with the help of the Shiv Sena and the Congress or no one garners the magic numbers leading to President’s rule in the state, which has become a reality on Tuesday. However, there also appears to be another possibility- the Sena making up with the BJP to form the government after President’s rule is imposed. Either way, the situation suits the BJP which cannot afford to lose Maharashtra at a time when neighbouring Karnataka is bracing itself for bypolls, and Jharkhand is set for assembly elections. The BJP not being able to form the government in Maharashtra, despite being the single largest party and is being considered bad optics for the party. Karnataka by-elections are not expected to be a cakewalk for the BJP, and neither is the Jharkhand election where NDA’s Bihar ally JD(U) has opened an independent front. The BJP also has to account for some backlash from the minority communities post the Supreme Court Ram Mandir verdict. Sources say that it is the ground situation in Karnataka that prevented the Congress from extending its support to the the Sena on Monday. The Sena was amongst the handful supporters of the Emergency. The Sena also went against the wishes of ally BJP to support the Congress in the nomination of former president Pratibha Patil. So far as BJP chief Amit Shah is concerned, it seems he is pretty miffed with the way former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis handled the situation in the state. But since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a public commitment on Fadnavis’s name, the BJP had no choice but to support the former chief minister publicly. The handling of the situation in Maharashtra has lost Fadnavis the edge he had. If President’s rule is imposed in the state, the BJP can make efforts to form the government with the help of the Sena but with a different leader.
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