Although the saffron party is now out of power in the state (probably for a short term), it stands to gain out of this temporary setback & here is how:
The moment Devendra Fadnavis announced his resignation as Maharashtra Chief Minister, prime time television anchors & star op-ed writers started building a narrative that Maharashtra is a huge blow for Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Modi & his lieutenant Amit Shah. The narrative builders will probably succeed initially, however as we have seen in the last 5–6 years, star narrative builders have no idea of the pulse of the voter & this time too, they are completely off the mark.
I explain six reasons as to why BJP stands to gain most out of this:
One- Shiv Sena is completely exposed in the entire episode. Shiv Sainiks who used to chant ‘Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai’ are now singing praises of 10, Janpath. A thought one could never imagine just few days back. The roar of the tiger is now turned into the meow of a cat. The Hindutva mask, of which every Shiv Sainik was proud till yesterday, is now off & they are trying to prove themselves as much secular as Congress is, if not more.
There can not be a greater fall than this. Maharashtrian public is watching this carefully & probably they are very angry at the betrayal of their trust & vote. From here, Shiv Sena can never go back anywhere close to what Bal Thackrey imagined it to stand for. And this could very well be the beginning of Shiv Sena’s end.
Two- Pawar family’s fault-lines are now out in the open. Even though Ajit Pawar has gone back to his uncle- Sharad Pawar and will probably be a minister in the new SIN — SS, INC & NCP alliance government, it has forever dented the carefully crafted hollow created around Pawar family over the years. Chacha Pawar can never fully trust Bhatija Pawar on party & family matters after his short lived stunt. This was evident when Beti Supriya Sule changed her WhatsApp status to — family & party split, moments after Ajit Pawar took oath as deputy Chief Minister under Devendra Fadnavis.
And all these are not good signs for Pawar family & Nationalist Congress Party. Senior Pawar is getting old now & the infighting between Supriya Sule & Ajit Pawar over NCP’s leadership roles will have serious impact on party’s future in the state.
Three- Devendra Fadnavis is now emerged as the undisputed only mass leader in Maharashtra, who can pull votes & win seats for his party. No other leader now even comes close to him. Sharad Pawar’s best days are now over, Udhav Thackrey is nowhere close to Bala Sahab in mass appeal.
Public wanted Devendra Fadnavis back in the Chief Minister’s role & they voted for BJP-SS alliance in huge numbers. Mahayuti got clear mandate from people to form government under leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. However, Shiv Sena’s betrayal did not let this happen & this has not gone down well with the voter. This has only made voters even more determined to send Devendra Bhai back in power, next time whenever state goes to polls. This is one real positive outcome of the events for the BJP.
Four- Congress has no role in future politics of the state except for being the junior most partner of the ‘BJP roko alliance’. This is a very humiliating situation for the grand old party, but as we all know, the current leadership of the party- national & state both, neither is capable enough to lift the party nor they care anymore. The party will die a natural death in the state and NCP will be the leading force of anti-BJP political space in the state.
Five- although many would like to argue on this, contrary to the made up perception about the party in recent years, people still see Bharatiya Janata Party as party with a difference. In this entire Maha episode, the only party which did not house-arrest, rather we may call it hotel-arrest its MLAs, was BJP. All other parties were moving their elected leaders in buses from hotel to hotel like a flock of sheep.
This clearly shows that except BJP, none of the parties trust their elected leaders. This is not an isolated case of Maharashtra only. Similar events have happened repeatedly in many other states- most recently in Karnataka. People now have started raising serious questions about the integrity of the leaders of these parties. Either the central leadership of these parties does not trust their elected legislators or their legislators are too vulnerable, greedy to cross-over to the other side.
Six- the state politics is now all about BJP & anti BJP union. While BJP is seen as a pro Hindu party, now all other parties are at the other side of this affair. Many from the majority community will now have no choice but to vote for BJP if at all they are looking for a pro Hindu party to vote for. There simply is no other alternative for such voters. BJP stands to gain most from this situation as it will now be seen as the only party defending dharma, specially after positive Ayodhya verdict & Shiv Sena turning secular in Maharashtra episode.
This is probably good for the country too, because- यतो धर्मस्ततो जयः