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Where is Uddhav Thackeray?: Is Sharad Pawar making moves to unseat Uddhav Thackeray?

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar

Chances are, that those who know about the surgery MH CM, Uddhav Thackeray has undergone, may, by the heading, judge me and start throwing adjectives such as political Hindu or say Bhakt. And in case if you are aware, that notwithstanding his critical condition Thackeray has attended his first meeting in a fortnight on 25th Nov, then I may be labelled as downright cruel or inhumane. So, before that happens, let me tell you that I know that an extremely complicated, Cervical surgery has been performed on Uddhav Thackeray and is recuperating in a hospital. And I wish him a speedy recovery. 

The little irony which I could not help but notice is, that he is in a hospital, owned by one of two businessmen who have been accused by Rahul Gandhi and now by Shiv Sena many times of being a crony capitalist. 

In spite of this update on CM’s health, I am posing this question which might sound rhetorical; because when Thackeray was admitted to the hospital, we were given to understand that he will be discharged within a few days and will be back in the office in a week or so. But it took him more than a fortnight even to attend his first virtual meeting. And I know for a fact that Sharad Pawar is making moves to unseat Uddhav Thackeray (Incidentally, along with Devendra Phadnavis he was in Delhi on 26th Nov).

Now if the ‘sources’ are to be believed, news on Thackeray’s health is just not reassuring. Nobody knows how this highly complex operation went, but what we know is, that it did cause a few unindented complications in the body. And hence 3 weeks on, he remains incapacitated. And now nobody’s sure when he will be back on his legs. Also, most medical experts would tell you, after this type of surgery it takes at least a few months for anyone to resume a normal life. 

Uddhav Thackeray anyway was not in pink of his health before this surgery. His complete absence from the secretariat for the last two years is part of the butt of jokes in MH. Also not to forget he had multiple CABG operations in the last decade and reportedly has more than half a dozen stents in his body. 

Intriguingly no media outlet, worth its airtime, seems to have even a hint of the magnitude of risk Uddhav Thackeray is facing right now. Or even if they are, they are pretending very well. 

So if MH CM is seriously ill and most of the press is not making any noise about it, why this channel wants to run in another direction? You see first and foremost I think it’s our duty to report and analyse what we think is true and relevant. Secondly, as a fan of Balasaheb Thackeray, I am genuinely concerned about Shiv Sena. 

And I think at this moment Shiv Sena is going through its leanest patch. Again, when it has its own CM, this thought might sound contrarian or actually downright crazy. So let me explain. 

Shiv Sena, in November 2019 broke ranks with BJP and joined a three-party coalition to have its own CM. And though it got its own CM, one may argue (in hindsight) that in the rush to achieve that one-point agenda, it has ceded too much ground to NCP. And now, this alliance is almost completely controlled by Sharad Pawar at both the most vital levels. Propagating Narratives and running day to day Administration. 

You need not go far to test this prognosis. Only a fortnight back (incidentally on that day Uddhav Thackeray was in office) he met Mumbai CP, Hemant Nagrale and HM Dilip Walse Patil. In which capacity? Sharad Pawar is just a Rajya Sabha MP. He is not holding any administrative or constitutional position in this MVA Govt. So how can take a briefing from Home Minister and Mumbai CP? Can anybody explain? 

And this is not the first time. In March this year, he met the Rockstar like famous, Mumbai Joint Commissioner Vishwas Nangre Patil. He had taken a briefing from him in September 2020 too. How’s that kosher?

You see, all administrative matters ideally should be handled by the minister of that department or CM himself. But this being a coalition, if NCP feels that one of their party men should be kept in the loop, then Ajit Pawar, his nephew, who also is a Deputy CM and virtual number two in this Govt, is a legitimate choice. 

But no! It’s only Sharad Pawar who wants to be in control. Because obviously, he doesn’t trust even his own nephew! And has another covert aim. Which I will come to, in a bit. 

Where is this pointing to? To me, this is an obvious plan to undermine Uddhav Thackeray’s authority and weaken Sena on the ground! So, when he completes his two & a half years as CM, he can be replaced with minimum fuss and collateral damage. 

If you are still not convinced, let me run you through a few more happenings in last year. 

Starting with the biggest crisis faced by MVA Govt: 100 Crore Extortion scandal involving Mansukh Hiren-Sachin Vaze-Parambir Singh-Anil Deshmukh. Following the discovery of gelatin sticks outside Ambani residence in February 2021, when Devendra Fadanavis pulled out CDR of Vaze-Parambir and Deshmukh, it hit the MVA Govt hard in the face and left it reeling. 

There was widespread criticism of the Govt. It was Sharad Pawar himself who spoke to journalists in two consecutive Press conferences. Do you know for what? To save Anil Deshmukh! Which he was not able to anyway, but that was the moment when he snatched the baton from Uddhav’s hand and saved the MVA Govt. 

At times it used to be Sanjay Raut who defended Shiv Sena’s stance. But the first representative of the Govt, CM Uddhav Thackeray, was nowhere to be seen. This was a clear sign that Uddhav has dropped the ball on the leadership issue. 

Another couple of major crises to hit this MVA govt happened in 2020. The brutal lynching of 2 Sadhus & a driver in Palghar, in April 2020 and Sushant Rajput – Disha Salian murder/suicides within a couple of months. Even at that time, the task of defending the Govt was left largely to NCP spokespersons. And to provide comic relief Sanjay Raut was used. 

Then again in April at the height of the Corona pandemic, a riot-like situation was created outside Bandra station, by labourers after prayer in the Bandra mosque. Later it was found that an NCP office-bearer named Vinay Dubey was responsible for fracas. For which he was also arrested and released on the bail later. 

This was a clear example of pandering to minorities by NCP at the cost of Govt. Actually Shiv Sena. And it did hit Uddhav Thackeray’s image badly. There was no attempt whatsoever by anybody from Shiv Sena (Forget Sanjay Raut) to call this out. A nobody like Vinay Dubey was allowed to getaway. 

The point is, since this Govt was formed, Sharad Pawar’s party has shortchanged Shiv Sena continuously.  And it did affect Sena’s performance in local body by-elections held in Six districts in October. Sena, in alliance with BJP last time, had finished at the top, slipped to the fourth position in MVA. 

So clearly, Sharad Pawar’s plan is working like a charm! By the time Uddhav Thackeray completes his two and half years, he will be left with no option but to resign. 

Now the big question is what will happen if Uddhav Thackeray refuses? Will it not break the alliance, bring instability and give BJP to make a comeback? You see that possibility is always there. But then Sharad Pawar knows, when Ajit Pawar is discredited (80 hours long govt) and Uddhav is down for a count,  this is the best time to take a chance and make a move to realise his long-cherished dream of making his daughter Supriya, CM of Maharashtra. 

Hence continuous chipping away at Uddhav Thackeray’s image. And sabotage Sena’s organisation on the ground. None should be surprised if to sweeten the deal or as a face-saver to Sena the new ecological warrior and hotshot playboy Aditya Thackeray is made Deputy to Supriya! 

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Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame
Ajay Sudame aka 'Pakodewallah' is for Free Markets and is a Nationalist. He is the founder and editor of the Marathi OpEd website - Also runs a YouTube channel by the same name. Tweets @IndicVichaar
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