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Sunday 19 January 2020

Why Mahajan shouldn’t have predicted Maharashtra poll dates

It may be recalled that the BJP’s 2004 campaign had got affected due to a similar show of over-enthusiasm by Pramod Mahajan

Nashik: Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Dattatray Mahajan has reportedly said that the State Assembly elections could be held either on 10 or 13 October. He also said that the model code of conduct might come into force from 10 or 15 September.

Interestingly, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, who is believed to be No. 2 in the cabinet, had predicted in June that the Assembly elections might be held between October 15 and October 20.

“The Assembly election might be held on 10 or 13 October. The poll code might be imposed from 10 September or 15 September,” Mahajan was quoted as saying by a Nashik district official who was present at a meeting of the district planning committee which was addressed by the minister.

Mahajan, who is guardian minister for Nashik, also said that the government might give a try to cloud seeding for artificial rains in parched Marathwada region after 30 July.

The minister did not respond to calls or messages.

Another Mahajan, the same folly

It may be recalled that the BJP’s 2004 campaign had got affected due to a similar show of over-enthusiasm by Pramod Mahajan. Normally, the EC takes all parties into confidence before deciding upon the date or dates of an election. In such a meeting, the BJP leaders who had met with the EC of the time got the impression that the election would be conducted in March that year.

Mahajan shared this privileged information with a group of journalists. The EC took it as an act of encroachment upon its territory. In what appeared as its reaction of asserting its authority, the EC announced subsequently that the election would be conducted in April.

The BJP’s advertising campaign “India Shining” was planned in a manner that it would peak at the time of the polls. Due to the delay, the impact of the promotional activity lessened. Worse, it became monotonous, the then media manager of the BJP informed Sirf News. “The opposition got an opportunity to mock at our campaign, and soon they were able to influence voters whose lives hadn’t improved much although the economy, on the whole, was performing well,” Amitabh Sinha, who now practices law at the Supreme Court, High Court and other courts, away from the humdrum of politics, said.

Sinha, the media in-charge of the BJP during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee years, regrets the fact that the campaign that had received accolades from international business schools flopped because of Mahajan’s overzealous conduct.

In 2014

In the 2014 polls held for the 13th Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine came to power by defeating the Congress-led UPA which had been in power since 1999. The BJP had won 122 seats and the Sena 63 in the 288-member House.

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