Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MNS might spoil Maharashtra elections

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

As Maharashtra, Harayana and Arunachal Pradesh go to polls today the eyes of the entire nation will be on the outcome of the results. The elections in these states are been watched closely as this is for the first time the NDA and the UPA are taking on each other since the Lok Sabha polls in May. Although national politics is not known to affect State Assembly Elections it will still be a reality check for UPA-II under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Both Harayana and Arunachal Pradesh are expected to remain in the hands of the Congress going by the pre poll sentiments among the people. Maharashtra however has enough uncertainty to attract the attention of the entire nation. Will the Congress-NCP alliance be able to retain their government? Will the BJP-Shiv Sena combine pull off a stunning victory to give the saffron brigade something to cheer about? How much of an impact will the MNS create in the polls which is rightly being called the 'Maha Elections?'

Going by the fact that people of Maharashtra have had two successive government under the Congress-NCP rule which has done very little to get itself re-elected a BJP-Shiv Sena combine was most likely to cash on it. But the thorn in the flash for the saffron brigade is the Raj Thackrey floated Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. MNS which erupted out of a family feud between the Thackreys threatens to jeopardise BJP-Shiv Sena's chances of forming a government in Mumbai.

The MNS is not expected to win many seats but might prove to be a deciding factor in more than 40% of the seats in the State Assembly. Going by the vote swings in the Lok Sabha polls MNS is expected to change the course of this election. It is expected to eat up the vote share of the BJP-Shiv Sena combine and Raj Thackrey might just deliver the political slap to his estranged cousin Uddhav and prevent uncle Bala Saheb Thackrey from running a remote control government in the State.

Although this gives some relief to the Congress-NCP alliance, their leaders are not laughing their way to the polling booths. After having not done any work for two consecutive terms they themselves are feeling the heat. Acute power shortage, farmer suicides, poor infrastructure and investors overlooking Maharashtra is giving them sleepless nights. The Congress-NCP government has certainly left Maharashtra in a worse state than it was at the time when it had taken over.

In this political mess a party like MNS might make situation worse and be a cause for a hung assembly. This in due course of time will promote horse trading and lead to further chaos. The people of Maharashtra should take a stand and vote for the government or against it rather than wasting their votes on smaller parties which in no case can form a government and thrive on a fractured mandate. MNS in no way can be a king maker but surely is scripting a hung assembly.


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