By: Keyur Seta
Roughly a fortnight ago, the upcoming Maharashtra State Assembly Elections 2014 (that will take place on October 15) appeared like a cricket match between Australia (Shiv Sena + BJP) and Bangladesh (others): the winner was obvious and it needed a miracle of sorts for any other results. But with the alliances between Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janta Party and Congress-NCP broken, the situation has now become like the upcoming 2015 Cricket World Cup: it is just not possible to predict any clear winner.
The following is the analysis and prediction of each major party in the Maharashtra Assembly Elections. Honestly, I am far from an expert in politics so don’t expect any detailed analysis. This is more of how a layman looks at the elections and the major parties participating in it. Here it is:-
Plusses: Their stronghold in the state, especially among the locals, is everybody’s knowledge. Despite the demise of its supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, his name alone motivates lakhs of their supporters. And with bigger responsibilities given to Aditya Thackeray, the youth of Maharashtra is expected to pour their support.
Minuses: With Balasaheb’s absence, it looks as if something is missing. But the biggest minus point for the party is the fact that they had to do away with their 25-year old alliance with the BJP.
Chances: Due to its popularity, it stands a good chance.
Plusses: The popularity of Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, will work well for them. Due to this, the party has roped in Modi to address a number of election rallies in India. Plus, its resounding victory in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, which is still fresh in people’s minds, will also work in its favor and so will Modi’s heroic U.S visit.
Minuses: Its bad performance in the recent Uttar Pradesh by-polls came as a surprise. According to some experts, this happened due to some of its leaders who kept pushing the Hindutva card instead of good governance and development, which was their agenda going into LS Polls. But, like the Shiv Sena, its biggest disadvantage is clearly the break-up with Shiv Sena.
Chances: The plusses ensure it stands a good chance.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS):
Plusses: The popularity and aura of its chief Raj Thackeray and his popularity among the youth are its biggest plus points.
Minuses: There has been a decline in its popularity in recent years. This was seen the most in this year’s Lok Sabha Elections, where the party failed to win even a single seat. The Modi wave is also responsible for this.
Chances: But because of the two break-ups and their past record, it might spring a surprise.
Congress and NCP:
(Despite the breaking of their alliance, I am giving a combined analysis because their situation is the same.)
Pluses: I don’t wish to sound rude but I just can’t find a single plus point for any of the two parties due to their terrible alliance run in the currently concluding term. Perhaps the only silver lining for them is the break-up between Sena-BJP.
Minuses: This will be a long list. As listed above, it is bad governance in every form that will hurt them dearly.
Chances: No chance unless one of them performs decently and joins hands with the first winner, which looks unlikely.
So all in all, the contest is really between Sena and BJP. This sounds unusual considering their united fight since last 25 years. However, as one shouldn’t rule out a post-result alliance, there is a big chance of the two parties joining hands after the 19th provided MNS doesn’t play spoilsport and they have enough seats.