WITH UDDHAV Thackeray set to become the new chief minister of the state and head a government of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition, Congress and NCP leaders said on Friday that the move will significantly help in thwarting BJP’s efforts to exploit the Hindutva plank and factions within Sena to its advantage.
Maintaining that the need of the hour is to ensure that the new combination would not create any rift within the Sena, which would in turn help BJP ahead of government formation, an NCP leader said: “The Congress and NCP leaderships have decided to give consent to Uddhav Thackeray’s candidature keeping in mind both short and long term needs of Maharashtra politics.”
“By deciding to make Thackeray the CM, Congress and NCP have ensured that Sena, which has 56 MLAs, remains intact. Notwithstanding political ambitions, nobody would dare to oppose Thackeray’s candidature,” the leader added.
Secondly, Uddhav as CM would also go a long way in checking BJP’s plan to exploit the Hindutva plank, said leaders. “It is unlikely to presume that the entire Hindutva vote bank would now shift to the BJP. Although some sections would move to BJP, the legacy of Sena founder Bal Thackeray will help the party partly regain its lost ground among Sena constituents,” said a Congress leader.
The BJP, meanwhile, said it would play the role of an aggressive Opposition in the state Assembly. “The three-party coalition may bring Congress and NCP on the centre stage of Maharashtra politics. If they decide on a common minimum programme, it will be a setback for the BJP to lose a very important state like Maharashtra. But politically, we will play the role of an aggressive Opposition,” said a BJP leader.
“Our strategy would be to specially focus on the 124 Assembly and 22 Lok Sabha seats that we had conceded to Shiv Sena,” the leader added.
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