The Maharashtra BJP has adopted a wait-and-watch approach amidst reports of differences within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance on contesting the 2024 Assembly elections.
With the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders expressing independent views without any unanimity, the BJP has decided to exploit the situation to its political advantage. Top BJP leaders in the state quickly pointed out that the divide within the MVA was not surprising.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “I have from the beginning stated that the MVA ‘vajramuth’ (iron fist) has too many cracks. When there are cracks, how can they remain strong and united?”
Amid political uncertainty in Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Sunday that since seat-sharing talks within the MVA had not been held yet, it was difficult to say whether all three parties will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections together.
“Today, we are in an alliance and want to contest elections together. But only wishing to do so cannot be enough. We haven’t had a discussion on seat sharing yet, so how can we talk about contesting the election together?” Pawar said at a press conference held in Vidarbha’s Amaravati.
Although many within the NCP believe that the senior leader was candid in expressing the concerns and challenges confronting the MVA, the BJP argued that it was a “pointer that all is not well in the MVA”.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “Pawar sahab is a very senior and experienced leader. If he is pointing to some aspects, it has a deeper meaning. He surely knows what the problems are in the MVA; whether anybody within wants to abandon the alliance or if there is a tussle for leadership.”
“Well, it is the internal matter of the Congress, the NCP and Shiv Sena (UBT),” Bawankule added.
“The BJP is focussed on organisational expansion. We have set a target of 200-plus seats in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The BJP and Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) will contest together as allies.”
Although Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut tried to explain how Pawar’s views were distorted and the MVA was united, BJP leaders argued that “it is not a matter of perception. What is reality is evident”.
BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said, “Sharad Pawar has taken the steam out of the opposition parties.”
A BJP strategist closely monitoring the MVA said, “There is a method in what the NCP leader is doing. When Rahul Gandhi’s campaign for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC on Gautam Adani) was at its peak, Pawar opposed it. Later, he tried to cover up, saying if there was a unanimous view on the JPC, he had no problem. Now, a senior leader could have voiced his concerns privately at an Opposition meeting. Why did he go public?”
Congress chief Nana Patole, meanwhile, said, “The Congress is determined to champion the cause of democracy. Those who support us are welcome. We have no problem with those who don’t.”