MAHARASHTRA‘MIRACLE’ IS BOUND TO HIT MVA GOVERNMENT
The latest round of election to the upper house of Parliament saw BJP scoring more than expected in three states of Maharashtra, Haryana, and Karnataka. Barring Rajasthan and Chattisghad the Congress and other regional parties were handed over shock defeats by BJP. In Haryana the senior Congress leader Ajay Maken lost while in Karnataka the JD(S) candidate was defeated. The noteworthy result is in Maharashtra where BJP won the third seat that is beyond their strength in the assembly. That Maharashtra victory of BJP is described as a ‘miracle’ by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Such a compliment coming from SharadPawar, a veteran performer of such political ‘miracles’ in the past, is certainly a massive victory for Devendra Fadnavis strategy. Despite the three partners claim of unity the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the Shiva Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar lost to BJP supported candidate.
The BJP victory has set the fears on the stability of the MVA government in Maharashtra. The cracks started appearing within hours of declaration of the results with no one taking the responsibility for the collective defeat but each party blaming the other for the fiasco. The Shiv Sena, the sufferer, is suspecting the role of NCP and its leaders SharadPawar in their filure to arrange for the second preferential votes from independents as Uddhav Thackeary believes that those indipendents who are close to NCP ditched them. It is a fact that BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis managed the votes of independents towards BJP by some inducements. Thackeray believe that Sharad Pawar, the highly experienced politician know what was happening in the independent camp and deliberately ignored alerting the Shiva Sena. The NCP and Congress blame the Shiva Sena and its chief Uddhav Thackeray for not doing enough to keep the independents flock together. The CM should have talked to those independent and smaller parties’ legislatures and personally requested them to vote for Shiva Sena. The complimentary term ‘miracle’ used by SharadPawar and the praise heaped on BJP leader has led to the deepening of suspicion in both Shiva Sena and Congress camps.
The political observers feel that MVA partners are now more worried about the upcoming elections to the state council. Unlike the parliament upper house election which is open and MLAs preference in voting is shown to the respective party, the legislative council voting is secretive and they suspect many more MLAs may cross vote, unable to resist the offers from BJP. If that comes true and the MVA candidates fail to win all the expected seats and BJP gains more the collapse of the coalition becomes reality.
There is already murmurs in the MVA regarding the internal stabbings. Congress suspect that NCP is trying to finish them. The recent understanding between BJP and NCP in capturing the Gondia and Bhandara Zilla Parishat Chairman and Vice-Chairman posts defeating Congress candidate is quoted as ‘back stabbing capability’ of SharadPawar. In current day Maharashtra politics it is advantage SharadPawar the senior political strategist. That MVA became a reality and Uddahav Thackeray got CM post because of SharadPawar political moves. The inexperienced Uddhav Thackeray is dependent on the administrative experience of Sharad Pawar and the NCP leader took full advantage of that and kept Thackeray in his grip. He is not allowing Shiv Sena tiger to wag its tail and at every opportunity Pawar is showing to Thackeray who the boss is. The recent crisis in the wake of ED cases and arrest of legislators and drug case on cine hero Shahrukh Khan’s son, it was SharadPawar who took control of the situation when Sena chief got panicky. May be the present defeat of the Shiva Sena candidate is allowed by SharadPawar to further strengthen his grip on Uddahav Thackeray.
Obviously Shararad Pawar has no concern for the loss of Shiva Sena candidate as by keeping Thackeray on his toes some political advantage is sure to accrue to him. As per him the ‘miracle’ achievement of Fadnavisis, the loss to Shiv Sena and loss of face to the CM Uddhav Thackeray. The bitter rivalry between the ideological twins, BJP and Shiva Sena, Sharad Pawar believes, is sure weaken one of those Hindutva parties and that is advantage to the NCP. That the BJP, Shiva Sena alliance had decimated NCP, Congress in earlier elections is well known. So Pawar wish the continuation of the rivalry of Hindutva siblings.
Fadnavis had a huge stake in the current election to RajyaSabha. He was dethroned from CM chair by Shiva Senaas Uddav Thackeray’s condition for the continuation of BJP and Shiva Sena alliance is the removal of Fadnavis as CM candidate. Despite all the tricks Fadnavis and BJP played and help received from Governor Fadnavis couldn’t prove his majority on the floor of the house. The triumphant Thackeray took the CM post with Sharad Pawar’s behind scene strategy. Ever since both BJP and Fadnavis are sulking and waiting for the revenge. That BJP and Fadnavis used many tricks to destabilise the MVA government during the last three years. All such attempts proved futile because of the cohesion among the MVA partners in retaining partners despite many differences among themselves.
The present coalition of Shiva Sena, NCP and Congress was a 2019 post-election arrangement and the glue is the power and not ideology. Power in Maharashtra has all the advantage including the money supply to the party coffers. BJP won’t like the continuation of that advantage till the 2024 elections. It is an open secret that BJP with the active support of Centre and Governor will try to topple the MVA government before the crucial next LokSabha elections. A section of Shiva Sena are unhappy at the way they are forced to take orders from local Congress and NCP leaders as their fight all through was with those parties. Just to see Uddahv as CM the Shiva Sainiks feel that they are paying heavy political price in the field.
The opponents’ complimented ‘miracle’ victory is sure to give strength to the BJP and its leader DevendraFadnavis to create more fissures in the MVA partners and pounce on them at an opportune time. The Rajya Sabha election has shaken the MVA towers and any loss in Council election is bound to widen the cracks among the partners leading to the collapse of the coalition.
By Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao