Saturday, Aug 13, 2022
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Welcome To Booty Zone

A peeved NCP-Congress ally pulls out, opening a season of defections and suitcase politics

Welcome To Booty Zone Atul Loke

It would perhaps be in order if the Maharashtra state assembly moved to the Mahalaxmi Race Course. The horse-trading witnessed last week has even surprised veteran manipulators like Sharad Pawar. Ever since the Democratic Front (DF) government lost its majority in the assembly last week, with 15 MLAs walking out of the ruling coalition, confusion has reigned supreme. Not surprisingly, the crisis has triggered off a numbers game with huge sums of money changing hands. Buying MLAs and keeping the herd together has become the name of the game and even political punters can't quite figure out which side—the ruling front or the Shiv Sena-BJP Opposition—will emerge victorious after the vote of confidence on June 13.

The grapevine, meanwhile, keeps ticking. Rumours of one more MLA having crossed over to the Sena-BJP, or a disgruntled Sena man joining Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party abound. Claims and counter claims have added to the confusion. As suitcase politics took over, there was wild speculation on who had been bought, sold and for how much. At the end of the week, analysts feel, it'll still be touch and go.

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