We are 162. Was the slogan promptly written all over the Hyatt hotel, Mumbai where the MLAs of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress were lodged yesterday. Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar deserve applause for finally arranging the coalition numbers and parading the elected representatives in front of the media. However a lot has happened between the evening Uddhav thackrey was declared the CM candidate and yesterday. The most unexpected event was the early morning swearing in of Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister with Ajit Pawar as Dep. CM. Though the NCP-SS Combine approached Supreme Court immediately, there’s little the court could do. Alongside the court’s recourse, the parties resorted to hotel politics by shipping their respective leaders to various luxury hotels. Amongst the high voltage drama ensued for last three days were quite a few inquisitive moments. Like Congress leader Kapil Sibal defending Shiv Sena in court. Or the NCP leader Sharad Pawar showing ignorance of his nephew’s political inclination to join a BJP coalition. But the quirkiest one was when Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress MLAs were asked to swear that they will remain loyal to party and not get lured by anything BJP throws at them.
It means so much for loyalty and trust…!
Even after the event 162, the BJP- Ajit Pawar faction remains one step ahead. For Fadnavis is still the C.M and Ajit Pawar is in NCP. Isn’t it surprising to see Sharad Pawar not even condemning him once, other than giving a lame excuse that he didn’t know of Ajit Pawar’s actions. Because had he thrown Ajit Pawar out of the party for mutinying the party’s differences would have come out in the open. It is clear the NCP is heading for a split. And the longer the time BJP takes to prove majority on the floor of the house the higher will be the frustration among the ranks. Similar is the case with Shiv Sena. It was rumored that about 15 MLAs urged Uddhav Thackeray to reconsider alliance with BJP. The increased frustration is the prime reason for conducting the #162 event. It was necessary to show unity or changes of defections would increase. It is to be understood here that even in the show of unity the common CM face or leader of coalition was not declared. Which means either they don’t have one or they won’t declare fearing more internal dissatisfaction. This could mean only one thing. Both NCP and Shiv Sena are on the salvage mode and are defending their fort. Also it shows the three parties are yet to come to consensus over Uddhav Thackeray taking the top post. Lest we talk of congress which is in perennial wait n watch situation. Had the Congress showed agility in forming alliance the outcomes would have been different.
Since there can be only two outcomes of the floor test. Either the BJP led faction wins, in which case NCP (possibly SS too) breaks. An outcome Amit Shah would like to see happening. Or the second in which the Fadnavis Govt fails to get required numbers, wherein it falls and the competing faction has to claim majority. BJP can then form the narrative that the single largest party with 105 seats was denied power by crooked means. Meanwhile, it’s then possible the NCP-SS-Cong faction claims to form Govt and consequently comes to power. Such a Govt would be very unstable to survive a full term, irrespective of what the Thackerays say. All the three partners will carry the coalition till they find an opportune exit route, citing any run-of-the-mill explanation such as renewed conscience, secular ethos etc.
A third outcome could be where both coalitions fail to prove majority, where in dissolution of assembly and calling fresh elections will be the end result. This is least likely as no party is expecting fresh elections so soon. Considering that the equations will be different in next elections its best for all stakeholders and the citizens of the state that a Govt forms at the earliest.