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Dole laa rey, dole laa!

Updated on: 08 July,2024 07:12 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

NDA depends on the labharthis of Ladki Bahin and other welfare schemes to beat the MVA in the Assembly elections

Dole laa rey, dole laa!

Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis. File pic

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Dole laa rey, dole laa!

Dharmendra JoreIt proved to be one of its trump cards for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Battered in the Lok Sabha elections, the NDA government in Maharashtra thinks that the Ladki Bahin (Ladli Behan in MP) would do the same trick in the October Assembly elections, in which the MVA promises to replay its summer show. At Saturday’s special get-together in Mumbai, the NDA constituents pledged to take Ladki Bahin and several other benefit schemes to the voters, with a single motto that ‘labharthis’ were the tool to win elections. It came with a rider that the Mahayuti should derive inspiration from MVA’s unity to fight back against the Opposition. Instead of a conflicting situation, a compromising approach was advocated as the foundation for the successful alliance. CM Eknath Shinde and DCMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were on the same page. It is to be seen whether the adjustment at the top drips down the rank and file when it comes to a do-or-die Assembly battle.

NDA leadership’s refrain is that it could not beat the INDIA bloc’s Lok Sabha campaign that the BJP, if voted to numbers beyond 400, would change the Constitution. The speeches made on Saturday attempted to resurrect confidence in the NDA workforce. The leaders cautioned against making statements that damage the alliance, issued stern warnings to the verbose, and felt that unity alone could see them through the harsh political winter. Roughly, the NDA government has about two months to ensure that the new beneficiaries are registered and get their dues transferred to the bank accounts. The delivery pangs are being felt severely, thanks to the overwhelming crowds at the government offices. The new government will be in by the end of October. 

Political circles are abuzz that the Congress will go into overdrive to outwit the BJP in Maharashtra. It is expected that the Congress will promise even more for women and other sections in its manifesto. The national party is buoyed by the 14 MPs, and wants to emerge the single largest party in the Assembly election, too. Its number of MPs in Maharashtra is the highest for any state where the Congress fought in alliance or independently. The party is unlikely to settle for anything less than 80 seats if it were to remain in the race against the Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharad Pawar).

Council’s 11

Before the test of unity in the Assembly polls, the NDA faces a contest that will determine where they stand in the Legislative Council elections, scheduled to be held later this week. Together they have to win nine seats (out of 11 at stake) whereas the MVA is confident of beating one of the NDA candidates. Who will it be? The members of the Assembly will vote in the secret ballot. Cross-voting is expected to take place. It will be seen as NDA’s win if MVA loses one of its three candidates. Again, who will it be? Two major parties, the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT), have one each in the race. PWP’s Jayant Patil is expected to get the NCP (SP)’s votes, but that won’t suffice. He will need a jugaad. So will Sena (UBT)’s Milind Narvekar, who is known for his connections across the party lines. These elections are a battle of NDA’s arithmetic versus MVA’s confidence of stealing the votes from NDA’s vulnerable partners. So, all eyes will be on the breakaway factions, smaller parties and independents.

New low for elders

The suspension of the leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Ambadas Danve did not augur well for the elders’ House. Danve was found guilty of abusing a fellow member and invited the punishment. Whatever activated his angry cells, Danve was not supposed to behave the way he did in the House. He did not apologise immediately but bragged about being a brat and furious. He did realise his mistake when his party chief Uddhav Thackeray apologised for his party colleague’s ‘inadvertent’ actions. The suspension was cut short by two days following Danve’s apology. But then it seemed that people had forgotten about the saying “It takes two to tango”. The other here was BJP’s Prasad Lad, who, in future, needs to be more cautious about his body language that apparently blew Danve’s fuse.

Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore

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