Throughout the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sold the dream of 'acche din' to the common man saddled with rising prices of basic commodities and increasing corruption. So how will the maiden Railway Budget affect the Sena-BJP alliance in the upcoming state Assembly election and has it appealed to voters in the state?
Though the new prime minister had emphasised on the need to introduce systems to instill faith in people through "good governance", a month after taking over the reins of the country, the highly publicised campaign promise of "ache din" seems to be far from delivered, giving the opposition a chance to take a dig at it.
Modi's maiden Railway Budget presented by Railway minister Sadanand Gowda gave a lion's share to Mumbai and Maharashtra, aiming to provide 14 out of 70 new trains to connect Maharashtra with other states. But it still failed to impress citizens, who were glued to the television with an expectation that the government would roll back the recent price hikes.
While the Modi factor benefited the Sena-BJP alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, helping them win an unprecedented 42 seats out of 48 in Maharashtra, the alliance will face a big challenge in the upcoming Assembly Elections if it continues to face flak for rising prices. Since Modi came into power, the state has so far seen a rise in the prices of basic commodities such as onions, sugar, LPG, rail fare and land prices, continuing to make life difficult for the common man.
With the Maharashtra Assembly elections barely a couple of months away, the state is also witnessing a bitter battle between the two main political allies in the state over seat sharing, even after being in an alliance for the last 25 years. Party workers of both the BJP and Shiv Sena are demanding that their respective parties should contest all the 288 seats, sending a message that neither wants to play second fiddle.
On the other hand, the Congress-NCP government has played the card of reservations and policy revisions ahead of the polls. Aimed at retrieving their political fortunes, the state government alloted a 5% reservation to Muslims and a 16% reservation to Marathas. Additionally, with an eye on OBC votes, the Prithviraj Chavan government decided to name Pune University after Savitribai Phule, a prominent woman social reformer.
There is no doubt that the Modi wave that swept the BJP-led NDA to an unprecedented victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections is bound to play a key role in the Assembly Elections scheduled later this year. But with the unexpected and untimely exit of senior leader Gopinath Munde, who could have posed quite a challenge to opposition parties, the BJP is now facing a major setback. With Munde’s death, BJP also lost its best bet in the belt of western Maharashtra.
Maharashtra needs a stable and efficient government that can provide them with better prospects, but if the government continues to cut a hole in the public's pocket, the Sena-BJP alliance may face difficult times ahead.