The BJP will be celebrating Diwali on Sunday itself. Party leaders are hoping that the “exact polls” would be better than exit polls predictions – being sure about victory in Maharashtra and very positive about Haryana.
Victory in these two states, one in north and another in west, if it comes true on 19 October will be a phenomenal achievement for the party. The likely addition of Maharashtra and Haryana would take the tally of BJP-ruled states to seven. In Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, BJP’s alliance partners Parkash Singh Badal and Chandrababu Naidu are heading the government respectively.
But ahead of likely victory in Maharashtra and Haryana, the BJP leadership is placed in a piquant situation. Unlike all the other states ruled by the BJP – Shivraj Singh Chauhan in MP, Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan, Manohar Parrikar in Goa and Anandiben Patel (named chief minister after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister), the BJP has neither named its chief ministerial candidate nor has an established leadership in Maharashtra and Haryana. That places the BJP leadership –particularly Narendra Modi and Amit Shah — in a tough position when they decide on the chief ministerial nominee, anytime after Sunday. The technicality of convening a meeting of Parliamentary Board — the party’s highest decision-making body — would just be a formality.
After all, the election was fought in Narendra Modi’s name and the result was dependent on the reach of his personal charisma. The poll campaign punch line ‘Chalo Chale Modi ke Saath’ seems to have had the desired effect. It is thus supremely important as to whom Modi chooses to head the government. After all the people chose to believe in him.
The fact that BJP would for the first time be leading the government alone, gives added significance to the future leadership. A senior government functionary told Firstpost that Modi would be applying his mind to the decision only after election results are declared on Sunday. A decision on who would be chief minister would also depend on the number of seats that the BJP gets. Whether it gets a clear majority, or close to a majority needing support of some Independent candidate and others or whether an alliance partner will be required.
Modi and Shah’s problem is that they have to pick up from the existing talent pool and unfortunately the bench strength is not too robust. The position is even tighter in Haryana.