Maharashtra: Is India Inc nudging NCP to ally with BJP?

By QUAID NAJMI

Mumbai, Nov 18 : Political circles are agog with speculation that some prominent corporate houses and business tycoons in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi are reportedly intervening to solve the current political crisis that has gripped the state.

These industrial houses are allegedly utilising the services of a few top politicians, from various parties but with “fraternal connections”, to fix an “arranged marriage” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), thus effectively scuttling the upcoming “love triangle” of the NCP-Congress and the Shiv Sena — a former ally of the BJP.

The theories of a covert corporate political operation gained further credence after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lavished surprise praises in Parliament on the NCP, led by 79-year old Sharad Pawar.

Interestingly, only last month, during the acrimonious campaign for the state Assembly elections, several top BJP leaders had sworn publicly “to finish off the influence of the Pawar clan from Maharashtra’s political landscape”.

As the elections threw up a fractured mandate, the Sena sniffed a big change to chart out a historical path and insisted on the post of Chief Minister, which the BJP has refused to part till Monday, but insisted that it will form the government with its former ally.

Amid the confusion, some corporate bigwigs, including players in the telecom, power and realty sectors and a troubled financial house chief, from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi are understood to have joined hands in a bid to convince wily old fox Pawar on the purported advantages of dumping the Congress and the Sena in favour of the BJP.

If this happens, sources claim, these tycoons would feel reassured that their existing and upcoming business interests in the state in different sectors would not only be protected, but also progress.

As per current indications, though the NCP leaders have reportedly given them a smile and a patient hearing, they have balked at making any commitment on account of their distrust for certain leaders from the BJP, and apprehensions that it could — at best — be a short-term marriage of convenience.

One source said that even if the “shot in the dark” indeed hits a bull’s eye, “the BJP would ensure the NCP is brought to the political bylanes within a few months… as it has threatened openly many times”.

Keeping their cards close to the chest, both the Congress and the NCP have continued their unending parleys among three parties, ostensibly with a wink and nod from Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.

At least three-four alleged “emissaries” engaged in arranging the political wedlock between the BJP and the NCP are deeply perturbed about their own political relevance in state and national politics, besides encountering possible legal repercussions of some past business deals, and they are confident that helping snapping off the emerging NCP-Sena-Congress triangle could secure their own future.

It now remains to be seen how the Sena-NCP-Congress progresses in the coming few days, or whether the alliance becomes still-born and gives birth to a new romance with the BJP.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in)

/IANS

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