All these factors point to the next election being a contest between two alliances.
Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gaining ground in terms of consolidating forces and forming alliances for the next elections in the state —a reality that Opposition parties are waking up now.
It had poached former chief minister Narayan Rane from the Congress for the Konkan and Sadabhau Khot from the Swabhimani Sanghatana in western Maharashtra already. Meanwhile, it is trying to keep allies Mahadev Jankar, Vinayak Mete and Ramdas Athawale in good humour. All these factors point to the next election being a contest between two alliances.
Mr Rane — who has resigned from the Congress and formed his own party, the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha — has a complete hold on the Sindhudurg district, where his party has 3 MLAs. Apart from the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Rane also has influence in several Assembly seats in Mumbai where voters from his region, the Konkan, are decisive. Mr Rane’s party is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and he is continuously attacking the Shiv Sena.
In western Maharashtra, Mr Khot, a former firebrand leader of Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana is with the BJP now. Though Mr Shetti left the NDA, Mr Khot’s Rayat Shetkari Sanghatana is a part of the NDA. BJP strategists feel that Mr Khot could help the BJP perform well in the region, especially in Kolhapur, Sangli and Solapur districts.
BJP leadership is also wooing Mr Jankar, head of the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and a leader of the significant Dhangar community. Mr Jankar is a minister from the BJP’s quota and his workers are likely to get good share in appointments of statutory bodies in the next few weeks.
Mr Athawale, a minister in the Union government, is a strong presence in dalit politics, and he has indicated that there is no chance of him to leave the NDA fold.