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  Opinion   Edit  10 Apr 2024  AA Edit | Cong clinches Maha bargain

AA Edit | Cong clinches Maha bargain

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 11, 2024, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Apr 11, 2024, 12:00 am IST

Shiv Sena gains prominence in Maharashtra alliance, with Congress settling for fewer seats; alliance aims to counter BJP's influence

The 21-17-10 formula, with 10 seats going to Sharad Pawar’s NCP, which also suffered the pangs of a split, reflects reality. The Congress and NCP had lost considerable ground after an incongruous alliance with the Shiv Sena. (File Image: PTI)
 The 21-17-10 formula, with 10 seats going to Sharad Pawar’s NCP, which also suffered the pangs of a split, reflects reality. The Congress and NCP had lost considerable ground after an incongruous alliance with the Shiv Sena. (File Image: PTI)

As the INDIA Opposition bloc reached a seat-sharing agreement in Maharashtra ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress may have settled for a lesser role in a state in which it had contested more than half the seats (25 of 48) in the 2019 polls.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) may have lost several legislators as the party split in 2022 and consequently lost the government it headed, but Uddhav Thackeray’s wing has come through less burned than its partners. It gets a major share of the seats that are spread evenly across the five regions of a state that sends 48 MPs to Parliament, second only to Uttar Pradesh’s 80 MPs.

The 21-17-10 formula, with 10 seats going to Sharad Pawar’s NCP, which also suffered the pangs of a split, reflects reality. The Congress and NCP had lost considerable ground after an incongruous alliance with the Shiv Sena.

The Congress had, in fact, driven a Faustian bargain, forsaking ideology at the altar of convenience in seeking a share of governance in alignment with a right-wing Hindu party in a commercially important state with a historical influence on political power in New Delhi.

It is but a natural corollary of such a bargain that Congress had to accept a secondary role while ceding ground in its demand for seats like Sangli, South Mumbai and Bhiwandi. The saving grace is it could have got its overall priorities arranged better as it can concentrate now on winnable seats in states like MP and Rajasthan where it has greater clout and so is the senior partner in the alliance.

As the national alliance exercise was done with an eye on getting the better of the ruling BJP, the grand old party may have acquiesced on many counts and in seat-sharing in states where it is weaker like UP, Bihar and West Bengal, but it has contributed, gracefully or not, to the bloc’s focus on the higher aim of putting up a fight against the forces the alliance partners oppose bitterly.

Tags: 2024 lok sabha polls, maharashtra politics, opposition bloc