Having been denied the opportunity to form the government in Maharashtra by its pre-poll ally, Shiv Sena, the BJP was garnering a whole lot of public sympathy. By remaining cool and collected, it also had the higher moral ground, even as the other players compromised on ideology and common sense to forge an alliance of convenience. And, then, the BJP threw it all away with the early morning ‘coup’ that has cast a shadow on none other than Uttarakhand’s Bhagat Singh Koshyari as its architect. What was the compulsion to do so? There is absolutely no doubt that any coalition led by the Shiv Sena would prove a disaster in the state, especially as it will have Congress in the mix. Could the BJP not have waited it out? The only justification is if the BJP and its newfound ally have the required numbers. This seems unlikely at the present going by the way the parties in opposition have found the motivation to close their ranks. Public sympathy has also been lost to an extent as people retreat to the cynical thought that all political parties are the same. It is even being reported that Ajit Pawar, the newly inducted Deputy Chief Minister, might resign and return to the party fold. After the initial shock of the swearing-in, it was being speculated that, somehow, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar was playing both sides of the game. It was also alleged that Ajit Pawar misused his position as leader of the legislative party to use a document with signatures of NCP MLAs to claim the support necessary to ally with the BJP. The Supreme Court has now asked to see whatever it was that convinced the Governor of the BJP-Ajit Pawar alliance having sufficient numbers to form the government. Is there more than meets the eye? Is the Congress ready to commit political hara-kiri in Maharashtra which is what allying with the Shiv Sena would be? At best for the ‘secular’ camp, the party’s votes would shift en-masse to the NCP. The Shiv Sena’s compromises on Hindutva and other causes would equally disillusion all but its hardcore supporters. Can the mere fact of being in power compensate for this? Everybody recognises that Maharashtra represents rich pickings for politicians. Does that make the coming storm worth the trouble? Has dissent within the parties been curbed enough to pass the litmus test of the coming floor test? Whichever way the drama unfolds, it is only the unprincipled opportunists that will gain.