The day he was sworn in as chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray seemed to subscribe faithfully to ‘secular’ as agreed among the Aghadi/alliance and publicized as a great achievement in the press, since it was given a place of pride in the CMP (Common Minimum Programme). It was the bone of contention among the anti-BJP parties in Maharashtra and a condition on which alone the NCP and the Congress agreed to help the Shiv Sena to form the government with Uddhav as Chief Minister. It was in the name of secular that they had succeeded in dividing the 30year old friendship between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Since all anti-BJP parties in India do all their political business in the name of secular contrasted to communal, they could not extend support to the SS nor join its government unless it severed all ties with the BJP. It was the first condition for even considering the request.
When the SS accepted this condition, the parties imposed another condition, that the SS shall never refer to Hindutva or use Hindu symbols. The SS agreed to that also.
It was propagated as an alliance limited only to Maharashtra and not beyond in any other state.
The next day itself Uddhav betrayed his dislike for the word secular when a journalist asked him about the word secular in the CMP. Uddhav retorted and asked a counter question demanding of the journalist what he meant by secular.
Third day, Uddhav announced that he will pursue his Hindutva agenda as he wished.
Sharad Pawar in an interview to a TV channel on 4 December clarified a few issues. The most important one was that Uddhav owes it to him because it was he (Sharad Pawar) who helped him become chief minister and fulfil his dream and promise to his father late Bala Saheb Thackeray. Political pundits understand the deep message conveyed publicly to the SS & the Congress besides the people in Maharashtra generally.
There was no need for Pawar to reveal confidential talks? Clearly, Pawar was telling both the SS and the Congress Party that he ruled the roost, though Uddhav might be the Chief Minister. Clearly, Uddhav survives only on the support of Sharad Pawar, chief of the NCP.
About the issues he discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that he took up the farmers distress in Maharashtra due to destruction of crops by heavy rains and mounting debts. The more significant part of his visit to the prime minister was the revelation that the Prime Minister asked him to work with the BJP. Pawar said he declined the offer. .
The SS and the NCP have more MLAs than the congress Party alone or the BJP alone. So, the government can hope to run its full term so long as it works under the supervision of Sharad Pawar.
The NCP can go to the BJP any time to topple the government and give Maharashtra a new government led by former BJP Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The two parties make the required majority in the Maharashtra state assembly.
The Congress can do no harm, even if it withdraws support to the Uddhav Thackeray government. It is so because the Congress and the BJP are enemies forever. The Congress has carried it to the extreme in the Pulwama terrorist attack, Balakot surgical strike, abrogation of Art 370/35A, Triple Talaq Law etc.
The BJP cannot harm the SS by itself.
If the SS goes back to its old friend BJP, it harms neither the NCP nor the Congress but itself as an unreliable alliance partner. Otherwise also, some leaders of the shiv Sena have gone too far with their vitriol against the BJP and its leaders that their re-friending appears impossible.
Sharad Pawar’s claim that the Prime Minister asked him to work with him, if true, was unwarranted. The dramatic turn of events in Maharashtra with Sharad Pawar’s nephew and former minister Ajit Pawar, in the capacity of Leader of the NCP legislature party leader extending support to the BJP on November 23 for forming the government and joining it as Deputy Chief Minister. (the government resigned in less than 80 hours) had created suspicion in political circles that it was blessed by sharad Pawar. Nothing happens in NCP without sharad Pawar’s approval. Ajit Pawar’s collaborated with the BJP was only a pressure tactics used by Sharad Pawar to force the Shiv Sena and the Congress reach a decision fast to join hands as an alliance and form the government. These 2 parties were delaying the decision and seemed to be unwilling to join hands. They did not trust each other and were ideological opposites.
In my article “Hunting A Golden Deer” on this site, I had analysed the issues and reached that conclusion much before revelations by Sharad Pawar.
Now Sharad Pawar revealed in the interview that the Shiv Sena and the Congress were delaying a decision indulging in bitter exchange of words which made Ajit Pawar join the BJP. Setting aside rumours of his blessing Ajit’s moves, Sharad Pawar clarified that he did not approve of it and asked Ajit to return to the NCP. That return took 80 hours!
Who would swallow such a lollipop? Can anybody dare challenge the authority of Sharad Pawar in the NCP or rebel against him and survive? He has got power without people’s mandate for the NCP or the alliance under its leadership. Today Sharad Pawar rules Maharashtra and the Congress cannot harm him or reduce his influence in the government in Maharashtra now. Even the Shiv Sena cannot do anything because Sharad Pawar can always send Ajit Pawar back to the BJP and participate in the government, reducing both the Congress and the Shiv Sena to insignificance in Maharashtra.
That situation will develop as the time passes as it is an alliance of the most un-natural kind.
Conflicts will develop as ministers are allotted portfolios and the loot begins.
The Congress alone stands to lose so much more in this exercise all over India that it will hurt its interest for many years. The SS is limited to Maharashtra and so is the NCP, but the Congress Party is the main opposition in India so far. Its performance or debacle in Maharashtra may strengthen or weaken it everywhere in the country. The Congress can ill afford such a bargain.
Whether Sharad Pawar is right or wrong in saying the prime minister invited him to work with his party, only the prime minister can clarify. He will hopefully do so at some appropriate moment. However,one thing is certain: God saved the Prime Minister. The secret of survival of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India lies in his moral and ethical individuality. Sharad Pawar working with the BJP would have compromised it in an instant.
The NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena, Communist parties, Samajwadi Party and all others opposed to the BJP went livid the moment the news of Devendra Fadnavis having been sworn as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister spread in the morning on 23rd November. Cases were filed in the Supreme Court. Corruption cases against Ajit Pawar were raked up. Questions were asked about the
BJP compromising on corruption. Election time speeches of the former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis where he said if elected he would get Ajit Pawar punished for corruption making him grind Chakki in the jail were carried on TV channels prominently. Satire, ridicule, lampoon and vicious writings in Shiv Sena official Newspaper SAMANA and attack in other media drummed up too much loud noise for 80 hours. They fell silent the moment Ajit Pawar returned to Sgarad Pawar and the family and the party rejoiced it with much celebration. Cries of political parties and media for Ajit Pawar’s blood for corruption fell silent. So much for the NCP leaders, Congress Party and communist parties’ love for honest and clean governance: Ajit Pawar with them is welcome but if he goes to the BJP he deserves hanging!
It looks as if all the opposition parties and the media expect the BJP not to compromise on corruption while there is no objection to their working with the notoriously corrupt politicians or parties!
Had Sharad Pawar accepted the prime minister’s offer to work together, it would have ruined the image of the PM and his party. The consequence of such an alliance can only be imagined. That the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was saved such a horrible embarrassment can be credited only to the Grace of God Almighy!
Narendra Modi has promised to make India Congress Mukt, it should not end up becoming Congress Yukta!