So near yet so far is the apt analogy for the recent shenanigans of BJP in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Notwithstanding the election results, not even the backstabbing by Shiv Sena or even its forming a government with NCP and Congress, the move by BJP to align with the Face of Corruption in the last Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar, was a disaster in all respects. After Shiv Sena played truant, angling for the CM’s post for itself, the BJP, hamstrung by lack of numbers and its inherent untouchable status amongst the so called Secular parties in the political spectrum, should have refrained from the misadventure. The long drawn negotiations between the three players in Maharashtra were getting on the nerves of both the electorate and the parties.
Congress is a divided house, with the younger generation led by Rahul and MPs from Kerala against any truck with the unabashedly hardcore Hindutva line taken by the Shiv Sena in all its years of existence. NCP is under tremendous pressure after Ajit staged that early morning drama, he has since then retreated but now claims his pound of flesh as the bargaining goes unabated. The inner tussle between Ajit and Supriya Sule is all too evident in the formation of the new government. Ajit, as long as one remembers has been the Official Number Two in NCP, heir to Sharad Pawar till Sharad chose Supriya to be a member of parliament. The entire drama of supporting BJP seemed at putting Sharad at unease, most MLAs stayed with Pawar senior but it has in no way diminished the clout Ajit enjoys in the party. The swearing in saw a sulking Ajit not taking oath as minister, he has put forth his demand for a rotational CM of two and half years each for Shiv Sena and NCP. Congress wanted two deputies CMs, one from NCP and one from the Congress.
Meanwhile, last minute negotiations have cleared some air with NCP having a deputy CM while Congress shall have the Speaker of the Assembly. This formula leaves powerful groups within both NCP and Congress unhappy. Ajit wants rotational Chief Ministership while Congress wants a deputy CM. It was always difficult to work out any solution which could satisfy all alliance partners of the Maha Aghadi. The BJP which earlier had thrown in the towel after its pre poll partner Shiv Sena parted ways, got interested even as the Maha Aghadi was on the verge of forming a government in Maharashtra. It had opened some backdoor channels with Ajit Pawar offering him the Deputy Chief Ministership, Ajit armed with his official status as the Leader of NCP legislature party gave his support to Devendra Fadnavis paving way for a last minute Raj Bhavan Coup scripted by some C grade Bollywood movie director.
It is implausible that BJP did not bother to check if Ajit had the support of his MLAs or his uncle, the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, without whose support it was impossible to form any government which had NCP in it. The Raj Bhavan Coup was up for judicial scrutiny was an assumed fact and it was also a known fact that BJP could not have the numbers unless the Pawar Senior was on-board. Sharad Pawar had cleared the air when he declared that Ajit acted on his own and NCP has no truck with BJP in the government formation. Supreme Court as predicted called for for a vote with open ballot and live feed, it was curtains for the Two Day Misadventure by Devendra Fadnavis and the ever ambitious Ajit Pawar. With the Maha Aghadi showing off its strength in the hotel oath taking drama counting 162 heads it was all over. BJP hung on for another 24 hours till Ajit pleading personal reasons parted ways with BJP. The humiliation was complete.
It is understandable that BJP was the largest party which should have formed a government with Shiv Sena but once the relationship was beyond repair and no chance of any rapprochement or climb down by the Shiv Sena, it was always difficult for BJP but the manner of its approach to form a government was against all principles of democracy. BJP has prided itself as a party with a difference but its machinations over the last 6 years has been anything but principled. The Court has now indicted BJP almost half a dozen times over the 6 years for its extra constitutional outreach. Uttarakhand, Arunachal, Goa, Manipur later Karnataka and now Maharashtra have all been the Black Demos of Constitutional norms.
Heavens would not have fallen if BJP had not tried forming a government after having exhausted all options earlier, it fell for the Power Trap. The lure of power for the financial capital of the country was too much for the sane heads sitting in Delhi. It is again impossible that the top hierarchy of the BJP was not involved, an operation of this magnitude would definitely have a go-ahead by either Amit Shah or Narendra Modi. One can absolve Narendra Modi but the entire operation had Shah’s Stamp.
BJP should have allowed the Maha Aghadi to tie itself in knots, its inherent contradictions would have surely made this alliance untenable in any distant terms. It has done few things in Maharashtra, BJP now enjoys the pole position both as a political party and the opposition, Shiv Sena evolves finally into a Secular party, Congress and NCP now are tagged along with the Hardcore Hindutva outfit Shiv Sena which professes to abide by Secularism.
One can ask Uddhav, has he changed his stand on Ram Mandir, Veer Savarkar and Godse or whether Sonia’s Congress has pardoned Thackerays for being Savarkarites and Godse worshippers…
Speak for Nationalist Rationale ! Without fear or favour. Masters in History & Economics, graduate of Law..! Politics, international politics, strategic and security issues are subjects of interest..