The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has to decide who will be its chief ministerial face in Jharkhand. The Hemant Soren government could fall soon, as in Maharashtra, and then BJP would have to step in. Babulal Marandi is the leader of the opposition, his party having merged with BJP sometime ago. But the party has not been too enthusiastic about making him chief minister. It has other former chief ministers waiting, such as Arjun Munda and Raghubar Das, to say nothing of the infighting among the different lobbies.
In Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray may have lost his government but he is keeping the alliance with Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alive. He recently met NCP chief Sharad Pawar to convince him to fight the 2024 General Election together. Thackeray also maintains a good equation with Congress leader
Sonia Gandhi. However, what Pawar decides will be key to the alliance staying intact.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has always maintained a working relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is said that they frequently speak about issues relating to the state. But now Vijayan is also building a connection with Home Minister Amit Shah. That could be why Shah has been invited as chief guest for the forthcoming Nehru Trophy Boat Race festival even though, on the ground, the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and BJP are adversaries. CPM’s main opposition Congress is alleging collusion. There is also speculation that Vijayan is keen on a ceasefire with BJP. For BJP, Kerala is not as crucial as West Bengal because it is a weak third force with no realistic hope of winning power. So, BJP may not be rigid in how it deals
The Waiting Chair
The big name doing the rounds for Congress president now that the Gandhis may not take the job is Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s. Gehlot says no one has spoken to him about it but a recent meeting with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi fanned the rumours. If he does become Congress president, then that could leave the chief ministership of Rajasthan open to Sachin Pilot or a dark horse.