Now that 20 state ministers, 10 each from BJP and Shiv Sena, have been sworn in, the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet is set to deliver at a much quicker pace, or so is the hope.
Over the last month, Fadnavis and his cabinet of eight ministers were each carrying the burden of multiple ministries. Meanwhile, Sena ranks were displeased sitting in opposition, and a section of BJP was unhappy with the leadership’s decision to take NCP’s support. It was these political compulsions that brought the two together again.
During electioneering, BJP was Sena’s main target. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray minced no words in attacking BJP, and even labelled some of its leaders campaigning in the state as forces of Afzal Khan, a lieutenant from Adil Shah’s durbar who vowed to kill Chhatrapati Shivaji but was instead killed by the warrior king. But all that bitterness is water under the bridge. Now, people of the state are hoping that the government will deliver fast.
Both the parties had a separate manifesto for the assembly polls, after they had forgone their 25-year-long alliance to fight the election solo. And the electorate driven by the anti-incumbency wave against the previous NCP-Congress regime voted in favour of both the saffron parties, offering 123 seats to BJP and 63 to Sena.
However, BJP’s decision to secretly ride on NCP’s back did not sit well with the voters, as could be gauged by their reactions in online media.
It is thus time for BJP and Sena to act fearlessly, now that their coalition offers a strong government with 186 MLAs. They will have to unearth scams, offer corruption-free rule and fulfil their agenda of overall development of the state.
Some questions such as how Sena would reconcile itself to the BJP’s view of a separate state for Vidarbha remain unanswered, since the party is strongly critical of splitting the state. Also, its manifesto promised virtual education and free laptops for the people.
It will be interesting to see if both the parties are able to implement their promises, and to what extent.