The drama that unfolded after the recent Maharashtra assembly elections threw up a hung verdict is puzzling with friends turning foes and political parties with very contrasting ideology trying to become friends. It was crystal clear at one point of time that pre-poll allies Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats, and Shiv Sena with 56 seats would form the government as they had won 161 seats together, which is way above the 145 magic figure needed in the 288-member house. But something that looked obvious turned dubious over power-sharing tussle between the two old friends. After days of uncertainty and speculations, President’s rule was imposed, confirming the break-up of more than three decades partnership between the two political parties. This unlikely development could create an unlikely partnership, with Shiv Sena now said to be working on sealing an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian National Congress (INC). Many might be wondering how the three will find a meeting point but anything can happen in politics.
Whatever may be the outcome of the talks to form a coalition government in Maharashtra, one party that is likely to lose more than the others from the alliance is the Congress. The party is currently in power only in a few states, and after its poor performance in this year’s Lok Sabha elections, it could be eager to be a part of the government in Maharashtra. While the party may say that the move is necessary politically from “power” perspective as its numbers are depleting over the years, it can cost the party dear in the long run for the simple that Shiv Sena is a saffron force. The two parties had got into many flirtations in the past because of the big divide in ideology. If the Congress bends its past stand and agrees to form an alliance with Shiv Sena, it will have to make compromises in terms of principle and its secularism ideals. But any move that is taken for love of political power or out of frustration or just to deny rivals from getting the bigger pie can backfire someday. It will hurt the party members who have been holding on firm to its ideals despite the political crisis they had to go through over the last few years. On top of that, Shiv Sena and NCP will get the lion’s share in power-sharing even if an alliance is forged as Congress has the least number of legislators among the three parties.
One serious question that many may ask is whether Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance will work if formed. Well, the fact is most coalition governments have stability issue, and when two or more political parties with very diverse principles come together, it is bound to cast doubts in the minds of the people. But then, anything can happen in politics. All that the people want and hope for is a stable government that works for their welfare and development. So, whatever party or parties form the government in Maharashtra, it should be for good governance and not for love of political power.