The Congress is watching developments in the BJP, especially the fight between the BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gopoinath Munde, viewing that its outcome is going to strengthen the Congress further.
Mr Gadkari’s keen interest in the Maharashtra BJP including in the appointments of district level officials even after his elevation at the national level and Mr Munde’s lack of interest to become a parliamentarian and effective Opposition leader, have already damaged the state BJP.
The main Opposition -BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the state has become leaderless. They have office bearers, Opposition leaders in the two Houses of the state legislature. But the saffron combine has not been able to emerge as an alternate to the Congress-NCP combine ruling the state for over 10 years.
While the Shiv Sena has already weakened after the formation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena by Mr Raj Thackeray, the BJP has never been in a position to check the Congress on its own. In fact, the saffron party has not even spread all over the state. A section of the top BJP in the state sees the MNS would be a natural ally viewing that Raj is more charismatic leader than Mr Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena.
It will be interesting to see whether Mr Gadkari follows the line of H.D. Devegowda who had expelled Ramkrishna Hegde from the Janata Dal after becoming the Prime Minister or Mr Munde will try to become Kalyan Singh of Maharashtra.
Mr Munde, the prominent OBC leader, has more friends in the Congress than in the BJP. Asian Age