After a long drawn fight for power, curtains finally fell on the Maharashtra Govt formation with CM Devendra Fadnavis and his deputy Ajit Pawar resigning from their posts yesterday. The rival coalition is expected to claim stakes today and Uddhav Thackeray is set to be the new Chief Minister.
A day before the three parties Shiiv Sena, Congress and NCP came together and displayed their strength in numbers at the “we are 162” event.
The leaders of respective parties made their MLAs swore an oath of remaining honest and not helping BJP under any circumstances. People hoped Devendra Fadnavis would bite the bait by facing the floor test in assembly. But the abrupt resignation put an end to the speculations. Now the path is clear for Uddhav Thackeray to ascend to the throne.
The events that took place in Maharashtra will definitely send shockwaves to distant places and we may see some major realignments coming in future. First things first, the mandate was for the BJP- Shiv Sena pre poll alliance. And the alliance won majority too. Yet the reasonably strong regional partner, who shared a common ideological backdrop decided to join hands with those parties it fought against. Shiv Sena was partner in the central Govt as well. By cutting ties in the state they lost the power sharing at the centre also. Desperation of power cannot be the only force guiding such an act of grave risk. It could be an indication that BJP’s popularity in the state was threatening Shiv Sena’s own interests. Which is why Shiv Sena finally chose to fight BJP itself in Maharashtra. The BJP also would have gauged the ground situation and hence decided to call the bluff of Shiv Sena, by not giving into the demands. Surprisingly, BJP may face similar situation in other states as well. The Akalis in Punjab or Nitish Kumar in Bihar must be watching the developments in Maharashtra closely. They may try a similar strategy in future to oust BJP from the state and yet be able to retain power.
The Congress and its extended partners have also sensed a way out to checkmate BJP in its game. Sonia Gandhi will sure want to replicate the new found success elsewhere. If the country’s political landscape moves in such a direction it indicates we are moving towards a Presidential style of elections. Narendra Modi’s idea of One Nation One Election essentially negates the situation BJP faced in Maharashtra. ONOE is one idea which has not yet arrived on the political discourse. It is about time ONOE is brought down from Radical to Acceptable level in terms of public opinion. However, by the time the 2024 LS elections arrive the political scenario would have reached quite close to One Nation One Election.
Finally, it is necessary to understand the psyche of the Shiv Sena. A name that forms the anti thesis of secularism and known for the role it played in 1993 Mumbai riots and the Ram Janambhoomi movement. A party which now comfortably sits among the very people, who denied existence of Rama, called it a myth. Though, strangers can become quick bedfellows in politics but one should know when to come out of the relationship with a winning argument. The way BJP did with PDP in Kashmir is a case in point. BJP carried the coalition till it reached the opportune moment to end it and made sure the PDP got weakened beyond recognition. Though Maharashtra isn’t Kashmir, the political risks of Shiv Sena far outweigh the risk borne by NCP or Congress. For now Shiv Sena has enemies on both sides. Should the Modi juggernaut turn the game against the coalition, it will be Shiv Sena to be crushed first.