This is a 3-part series of post election thoughts. At the India, Maharashtra and Pune level. You can find the remaining parts here.
The verdict : The MNS is here.
Love it or hate it, it is here to stay. We all knew this, the elections just confirmed it.
The positives being Raj Thackeray has an opportunity here to go further right or towards the center. I have said earlier and will say it again. He is the best leader we have in Maharashtra. The others look like a bunch of baboons in front of his oratory and political skills.
But I really hope he is constructive in his approach to not scare away voters, and needs to push this message across to the voter. A glorious career then awaits him.
On the negative side, the people of Maharashtra will not be getting a non-Congress/NCP government for a quite some time. The arrival of the MNS pushed this further by a decade or two.
The Shiv Sena is going down. Bal Thackeray has a few days to meet the riot victims while Uddhav Thackeray isn’t helping the cause. Once the MNS leaves a large enough footprint in Maharashtra, do not be surprised if the BJP tries to woo it. If I read Raj Thackeray correctly, he would know his best chance is in being alone.
As for the Congress/NCP in Maharashtra, their gameplan is similar. Do not shoot yourself in the foot. The others will do the rest. This tenet should hold good for them for now. The upcoming assembly elections would confirm this, I am sure.
Strangely, apart from Sharad Pawar, who has graduated on to national politics, there isn’t a single leader with the charisma and appeal that is noteworthy. This is bad news for Maharashtra. So for citizens of Maharashtra, it might take longer than expected to get a government that actually works, a non-Congress/NCP government that is.