Asked if he agreed that accepting support from Ajit Pawar was a step that misfired spectacularly, BJP president Amit Shah said the BJP only tried to deliver upon the mandate of the people.
Did the top leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party err in trusting NCP rebel Ajit Pawar when it decided to form the government in Maharashtra with his support and even gave him the Deputy Chief Minister’s chair? Political circles are abuzz with how the ‘Chanakya’ had been outfoxed by the ‘wily’ Sharad Pawar.
The series of developments did reflect poorly on the BJP leadership’s sense of judgment. The happenings in the intervening night of November 22 and 23 and the subsequent early morning swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar had already drawn questions on the role of the Governor. The subsequent desertion of Ajit Pawar hours before the Supreme Court-ordered floor-test left BJP red-faced and with no option but to give in.
Asked if he agreed that accepting support from Ajit Pawar was a step that misfired spectacularly, BJP president and Union Home minister Amit Shah said the BJP only tried to deliver upon the mandate of the people, which was clearly in favour of the BJP. However, he did not blame Ajit or Sharad Pawar for how the BJP was denied power in the state.
“NCP was always our opponent. It is the Shiv Sena which has betrayed us. Certain political steps are taken keeping certain things in mind. Sometimes, that thinking fails to get implemented. Call it (forming government with Ajit Pawar) miscalculation or what you want, but BJP has kept its ideology intact and made no compromise there,” Shah said at an event by News18 India in Ranchi.
WATCH: What Amit Shah said about Ajit Pawar
Shah is keeping his attacks focussed on the Shiv Sena and how the Congress and the Sena had compromised on their ideologies in their unbridled lust for power. At the event, Shah highlighted how Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was due to visit Ayodhya on November 23, has not made the visit.
“How will Uddhav explain this now? The Congress, which always opposed the Shiv Sena, is today siding with them only to gain power. What answer will Sonia and Rahul Gandhi give? At least we never made such compromises, and kept our agenda and our ideology intact and only tried to implement the mandate of the people,” Shah said.
Reacting to the allegations that the BJP indulged in horse-trading when it attempted to form government with the support of Ajit Pawar, Shah ducked any reference to the episode and instead blamed the Congress of indulging in horse-trading.
“Congress party bought the whole stable by giving away the CM’s chair. The alliance of Congress-NCP had around 100 seats (98), Shiv Sena had 56. Can you explain why you accepted a Chief Minister from Shiv Sena? And if it truly is an alliance for the development of Maharashtra, then appoint your CM and see if Shiv Sena still supports you,” Shah said.
Amit Shah is clearly limiting his attack to the Shiv Sena and to some extent to the Congress. He refuses to admit that Ajit Pawar had landed the party in a bad spot and resulted in a loss of face. Instead, he says that the party has been hurt by the change of heart that the Shiv Sena had after the results were announced. “The NCP had always fought elections against us.”