Both had gone for broke, hoping to emerge at the top in the two States

_PRAKASH_CHAUTALA__1332022gNEW DELHI : For the Shiv Sena and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the key regional parties in the electoral fray in Maharashtra and Haryana, respectively, the message is ominous. Both had gone for broke, hoping to emerge at the top in the two States, but, in the end, the BJP emerged the winner.
Now, the Sena, the senior partner in the 25-year-old alliance with the BJP, which broke just before the election, looks set to return to that arrangement — but as a very junior companion, having won just half the number of seats the BJP has. From the Assembly election in 1990, the Sena consistently secured both a larger share of votes and seats than the BJP, except in 2009: that year, while the Sena outstripped the BJP in vote share, it won two seats fewer than the BJP, getting 44 while the latter won 46.
When the BJP-Sena combine formed a government in Maharashtra together in 1995, it was the Sena that led the coalition with Manohar Joshi in the saddle. Not just that, at that time, it was the BJP that was seen as riding piggyback on the Sena in the western State: that era is over, and Udhav Thackeray’s dream of becoming Chief Minister shattered with these elections.
For the INLD, which hoped these results would make it the rallying point countrywide for the opposition that was decimated in the Lok Sabha election earlier this year, it is time to rethink its strategy, along with its friends in the Janata Parivar, which had campaigned vigorously for it. The yet-to-be-born anti-BJP platform will have to weave together a credible message, stitch a social alliance that can work (the INLD ended up chasing the Jat vote along with the Congress, leaving the BJP to consolidate the rest) and do business with the Congress, for their own political survival, just as the Congress will have to reciprocate any such overture if it is to have a future.udhav-19
The way in which the BJP emerged as the decisive frontrunner in Maharashtra, while winning Haryana outright, has only corroborated the results of the general elections. The age of anti-Congressism is over and if there is to be a credible opposition, it will have to be the BJP versus the rest. If the BJP juggernaut is to be halted, there is no question — all non-BJP political parties have to set aside their egos and prejudices and come together.
Curiously, the BJP’s Vinay Sahasrabudhe aired these fears in a TV discussion on Sunday when he urged the Sena to stick with its old friends and not look for new ones, even as speculation grew of the possibility of a Sena-Congress-NCP combine getting together to block the BJP from coming to power in Maharashtra.

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