On Tuesday Maharashtra unit of Congress said by-election results from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were a morale-booster for the party cadre, and would also lead to speedy finalisation of seats-sharing deal with the NCP for the coming assembly elections in the state.
The seat-sharing talks are currently stuck over NCP’s demand of equal number of seats.
Reverses for BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Congress’s gains in Gujarat and Rajasthan in Tuesday’s by-election results had enthused Congress workers in the poll-bound Maharashtra, said state Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil.
“It is a psychological boost. People are upset with the BJP government under Narendra Modi and are in rethinking mode.
It will also expedite seat-sharing talks with NCP,” he said.
Shiv Sena, which had refused to accept BJP’s demand for 135 seats, would now harden its stand, he claimed.
“Today’s results are a message to our ally NCP that people want us to unite and keep communal forces at bay.”
Gadgil, who is also a member of AICC media panel, claimed that BJP’s losses in Uttar Pradesh proved that people did not want communal forces, while in Rajasthan the youth had voted for the Congress in a big way.
Ratnakar Mahajan, another state Congress spokesperson, said in the current legislative assembly Congress has 82 MLAs, which is close to the combined strength of BJP (46) and Shiv Sena (45). NCP (62) has more MLAs than the two saffron parties individually.
Despite this, Congress and NCP together are one member short of majority in the 288-member house, he noted.
“Alliances are inevitable for both Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP. The extent of fragmented polity is such that more than Congress-NCP, it is BJP which has no candidates to field in several constituencies. In the Lok Sabha elections, it fielded outsiders at eight to ten places,” he said.
In apparent reference to NCP’s threat to go it alone if its demand for equal number of seats was not met, Mahajan said because of the Lok Sabha verdict in favour of a single party, the idea of going solo had now entered the heads of those who once thought coalition politics was here to stay.
Both Gadgil and Mahajan said the by-poll results proved that voters think differently in Lok Sabha and assembly elections. Focus of party’s campaign will be on the developmental works carried out by the state government in the last 15 years, they said.
Commenting on the stalemate in Sena-BJP seat-sharing talks, Mahajan said, “We don’t know whether their differences are for real or just a pretence to keep the smaller parties in the (opposition) alliance which are demanding large chunk of seats at bay.”
After Tuesday’s results, BJP will have to do a rethink on its confidence that the “Modi wave” would carry it to victory every time, he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines