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Is Midterm Election A Possibility In Maharashtra?

The Election Commission’s decision about the change of guard in Maharashtra is interpreted as a signal for a midterm election, considering the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling against the Shinde-Fadnavis alliance government. As the EC’s verdict is in favour of the Shinde faction, which has now the Shiv Sena name and symbol, leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – comprising the Sena (U), the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – are assessing the likelihood of the dissolution of the assembly by the government to force a snap poll. If this happens, the Shinde faction and the BJP will be better equipped to fight the election, according to thinking in MVA circles. Though the alliance is in a celebratory mood, its leaders have concentrated all their efforts on the two assembly byelections in Pune since any MVA win at this juncture can result in loss of face for the BJP, the dominant partner of the alliance. Interestingly, NCP president Sharad Pawar has already advised Uddhav that there would be no point in criticizing the EC’s decision since it is a constitutional body. “Instead, choose a new symbol and go ahead,” said Pawar. In this age of information technology, it will be easy to transmit the new symbol all over the state, he pointed out. Citing the splits in the Congress and other parties, he recalled how the new symbols were accepted by the electorate.