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Maharashtra political situation – clear winners, and yet no Government




This is almost like scoring a self-goal. So many days after convincingly trouncing the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the state assembly, the Congress-NCP has not yet been able to come to an agreement on the sharing of ministries. Even though there is no direct threat to their success in the assembly, this bickering over the sharing of ministries looks very unsightly, and is a clear pointer to the money making and influence peddling abilities of the respective ministries.
The 2 parties are primarily fighting over the ministries that have a lot of money and political strength, basically the ministries of home, finance, public works, power, urban development. These are the ministries from where you control the levers of money; and it is the ability to spend government money that drivers political power. It is also true that controlling each of these ministries enables the parties to do patronage of their own party workers, thus getting them more money and power. The home department means the control of the security apparatus of the state such as the police and intelligence agencies.
The seeds of this dispute are based on the long standing electoral adjustments that the 2 parties had made. Initially, when the NCP and Congress had come together, after the 1999 elections, the NCP had more seats, but the Congress wanted to get the Chief Minister, and had to give away some of the more powerful ministries. Over the years, as the Congress controlled number of seats has gone up, while that of the NCP has reduced, the natural power hungry nature of the Congress apparatus has got more uncomfortable with the fact that they were not able to control these ministries. In addition, over the years, the basis for which the NCP has been a party separate from the Congress has more or less vanished (Sharad Pawar had separated from the Congress over the claim of Sonia Gandhi foreign origins, but that issue vanished when he agreed to a tie-up with the Congress).


Now, NCP is in a bad position. It has less seats than the Congress, and it can see itself declining; further, if it accepts the hard push of the Congress to give away the more important ministries, it can see itself being slowly pushed to the margins. In the next election, one would see an even more determined push for the Congress to go it alone, or to give even lower number of seats to the NCP (link to article):

In an effort to break the logjam over the formation of the government in the state, Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir has summoned Chief minister Ashok Chavan and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal to Raj Bhavan on Tuesday, an official here said. While Chavan will meet Jamir around 11 am, Bhujbal will meet him half an hour later, the official said.
Though there is no fixed agenda for the two meetings, it is expected that the governor may advise them to take steps to form the new government immediately. “However, it’s too early to say whether there will be a swearing-in programme today,” the official said. It has been 13 days since the results of the October 13 elections were declared but there has been no progress towards the formation of the new government.




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