It took six weeks of discussions, but the BJP has secured crucial positions in Maharashtra’s newly expanded government. Though nine ministers were sworn in from both parties, the BJP has received the more prestigious ministries due to its larger majority in the legislature.
Devendra Fadnavis, the state of Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, is a strong figure in the state’s government. As most of the BJP’s portfolios were handled by NCP and Congress in the MVA government, the 40-MLA Eknath Shinde faction might take solace in the fact that a certain equilibrium continues.
However, the Shiv Sena has been weakened and fractured as a result of their continued time in office. There will be grumbling even within the BJP, as most ministers have been given far smaller portfolios than they had during their first term (2014–19). However, the abrupt shift in political conditions in BJP’s favour necessitated such concessions. How this all pans out will be immediately apparent in municipal elections throughout practically all of Maharashtra’s major cities, including Mumbai.
The ground game of the ruling alliance will be put to the test. And if the results don’t pay off well, Shinde Sena members may criticize the CM’s leadership. The Thackerays are feverishly trying to preserve their Sena after getting a breather from the Supreme Court, and an outmanoeuvred Sharad Pawar is focused inwards on reconstructing NCP, leaving MVA in uncertainty. The realignment in Bihar might give national opposition unity efforts a new boost, and this would be tested in Maharashtra.
With the introduction of a Sena faction on both sides of the political spectrum in Maharashtra, things have changed. The BMC and other municipal elections will show whether or not Thackeray’s influence over Sena holds and whether or not the BJP’s “Maratha bet” on Shinde was successful. National attention will be focused on Maharashtra’s political experiments from the next municipal elections through 2024.