The net result of the two press conferences by Devendra Phadnavis, till recently the BJP chief minister of Maharashtra, and Uddhav Thackeray, leader of the Shiv Sena, is that the alliance between the two parties has fractured, throwing government formation in the state in disarray. It is not in the interest of the nation or the state for such political uncertainty in the state that houses India’s commercial and financial capital. Both parties should respect the will of the people, which is for a BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to form the government. They should show flexibility and accommodation in sharing office and deliver responsible government to the people.
If they fail to do that, the possible alternatives are all unsavoury. The BJP could try and break other parties, including the Sena, to mobilise the numbers it needs. Or the Sena could form a government with the support of the NCP and the Congress. Or the BJP could form a minority government with the NCP choosing to abstain on motions that could bring the government down, on the basis of Sharad Pawar’s statement that his party’s mandate is to sit in the Opposition.
The Congress would find it difficult to tie up with the Sena as it celebrates its initiative in bringing down the Babri mosque and takes credit for construction of a new Ram temple at the site that could well be in the offing, when the Supreme Court delivers its Ayodhya judgment next week. For the BJP to keep breaking other parties to secure a legislative majority is to paint itself as an unprincipled chaser of power, regardless of the principles of democracy.
If all this fails, the option of fresh elections remains.
The most sensible outcome would be for the BJP and the Sena to come together, doing whatever is required to put statements that have caused offence behind them, and form the government, for which the people have given them the mandate.