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Today in Politics: Is ‘voters on holiday’ a reason for NDA setback in Maharashtra?


Could it be as straightforward as the overconfidence of their supporters? As the BJP and their allies continue with their post-mortem of the Lok Sabha elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Eknath Shinde has pointed to that, underscoring the need for a “more strategic approach” as the Assembly elections approach.

“Some of our voters went on holiday during polling, assuming that the NDA would easily win more than 400 seats in the general elections,” PTI quoted Shinde as saying at a conclave of the ruling Mahayuti alliance in Mumbai on Saturday.

More than this remark of the CM, appeals for unity that he issued along with Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar illustrate what tripped up the BJP and its allies in the run-up to the elections and the challenge that awaits them ahead of the Assembly elections. Though two of the main parties of the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) — Shiv Sena and the NCP — were split and weakened, it meant that there were more claimants in the fray in the ruling alliance and fewer tickets to go around and the seat-sharing talks dragged on for months, damaging the coalition’s poll prospects.

Then there were other issues such as the drift in the Dalit votes — a major problem for the BJP in other parts of India too, such as UP — the sympathy factor for Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar who saw their parties get split, the Maratha versus OBC factor, and agrarian unrest. Without answering these big problems and without solving its problem of lack of cohesion, the Mahayuti is more than likely to continue sailing in rough waters.

In his speech, Fadnavis emphasised that “compromise is the secret of any successful coalition”. Whether the alliance can identify and work on its problem areas and whether its constituents can successfully compromise remain the big questions.

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Recommended reading: After Maharashtra setback, how BJP is planning to regroup, bridge gap with MVA

Rahul Gandhi to visit Manipur

Meanwhile, after Hathras and Gujarat this week, Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi will be in Manipur on Monday. The visit is significant as the issue of ethnic violence in Manipur was among the major talking points in the recent Parliament session, with the BJP catching a lot of flak over how its governments at the Centre and the state handled the situation.

Following repeated attacks from the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that his government had been making every effort to restore peace in the strife-torn state. In an article to be published later in the day, Asad Rehman analyses how Manipur plays out in the coming weeks, especially in Parliament during the Budget Session that begins on July 22, and what Gandhi’s visit to the state signifies. Be sure to watch out for that.

Recommended reading: Decode Politics | Why a Leader of Opposition post after 10 years, and why it matters

Mayawati in Chennai

Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati will be in Chennai on Sunday morning to pay homage to her party’s Tamil Nadu chief K Armstrong. A six-member gang hacked the 47-year-old to death near Perambur in Chennai on Friday.

As reported by Arun Janardhanan, the police, as per their preliminary inquiry, believe that Armstrong’s death is linked to the killing of gangster Arcot Suresh last August. Suresh allegedly supported a gold trading company that is accused of defrauding more than a lakh depositors of Rs 2.43 crore. Armstrong, according to the police, supported some of the people who lost money in the scam, causing friction with Suresh who was killed last year by a gang led by Jayapal. Armstrong’s suspected killers, among them Suresh’s brother who is among the eight arrested till now, believed Suresh was killed on Armstrong’s orders.

Recommended reading: A gold trading scam, rivalry with a gangster, and a brother’s revenge – police crack murder of BSP’s Tamil Nadu chief

Also happening today: The Delhi BJP will meet at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to discuss its strategy for the Assembly elections in the National Capital due early next year. The meeting, expected to be attended by more than 2,000 people, including party functionaries from various levels, will be addressed by Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Several resolutions are expected to be passed at the meeting.

— With PTI inputs





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