With the BJP's drubbing in Bihar polls, its ally Shiv Sena is likely to adopt a more aggressive posture and demand a greater say in running of the alliance Government in Maharashtra in the days to come.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been cornering the BJP-headed government in the state and also at the Centre on almost every important issue and there will be no let up in this front, according to political observers and leaders.
Shiv Sena, emboldened by its success in elections to the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation, could not hold back its glee after BJP lost in Bihar. The party even cited its own "success" in Bihar, where it polled over two lakh votes in nearly 100 seats it contested though it didn't win any.
The winter session of the state legislature, starting in Nagpur from December 7, may see another round of verbal duel between the sparring partners, they said. Ahead of the session, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has completed one year in office, is expected to expand his Council of Ministers.
Madhav Bhandari, State BJP spokesman, said the Bihar poll result does not mean anything for Maharashtra though it will embolden his party's opponents. Congress and NCP have failed to act as responsible Opposition parties and they are only interested in creating roadblocks for the BJP-led Government, he said.
Nawab Malik, NCP spokesman, said Sena's bargaining power has now increased and one will see it applying more pressure on BJP to get its demands met. However, despite being critical of the ruling coalition, Sena will not pull out of the government, he said.
During the KDMC poll campaign, Sena and BJP leaders, including Uddhav and Fadnavis, publicly took on each other and their ties touched a new low. Uddhav threatened to withdraw his party's support to the Fadnavis Government if BJP does not "shed its arrogance".
Interestingly, last week Sena joined hands with BJP to rule KDMC where the former emerged the single largest party but fell short of a majority. The observers said the result of Bihar elections has in the short-term given an upper hand to Sena, which is likely to strike a more strident note against BJP in Maharashtra.
Some Sena leaders believe the party will come to power on its own if Assembly elections are held in Maharashtra now.