01 Jul 2022  |   06:43am IST

Fulfill My Dream

The political turmoil in neighbouring Maharashtra has synonymity with a popular Marathi drama  maazi puri kara, meaning fulfil my dreams. Gaining back power is the sole intention of the BJP and Devendra Fadnavis. Hence, a series of incidents such as blaming the government, destabilising the coalition partners, and at times putting some of the reputed and responsible personalities behind the bars were transpired in Maharashtra. But the government didn’t shake. Finally, when Eknath Shinde formed a group of Ministers, and MLAs the government collapsed. Shiv Sena Party Chief Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the post of Chief Minister, and a man from his own party Eknath Shinde was sworn in as his successor. The only other change is that the BJP has replaced Congress and NCP in this coalition government. Shiv Sena MLAs from the past government had strongly demanded to sever ties with Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and form a government with BJP.

When Shiv Sena party high command refused to buckle down, the MLAs acted independently to achieve their dream. Former CM Devendra Fadnavis, who had earlier claimed that he would come to power again, has ended up with a lesser important position of Deputy Chief Minister in the new set-up. Shiv Sena's rebel leader Eknath Shinde has bagged the Chief Ministerial post. It is argued that Shiv Sena has suffered a lot in this political drama, but there are hardly any signs of it. Shiv Sena has seen many transitions in 55-year political history of Maharashtra, and the party has experienced and digested them. The Shiv Sena has seen it along with Praja Samajwadi Party, Congress, BJP and now with Congress and NCP. The newly appointed CM may have denied it, but Shiv Sena has experienced many defections. When Hemchandra Gupte, Bandu Shingre, Chagan Bhujbal, Ganesh Naik, Narayan Rane, Raj Thackeray bid goodbye to Shiv Sena, questions were raised about the party’s future, but that never happened. The Shiv Sena flag was flying high then, and is still flying high. The act of few ministers and MLAs going along with Shinde would be termed as rebellion, but Shinde has coined it as discontent. In Shiv Sena's vocabulary, it is referred as backstabbing. And there is no pardon for a backstabber in Shiv Sena's dictionary. A feeling of displeasure towards Shinde for his step is obvious in the Matoshree camp.

After Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray’s exit from Shiv Sena, he had gained so much importance that Shinde was presumed to be MVA’s leader. He became the minister for Urban Development. Earlier for almost 25 years, this portfolio was held by the Chief Minister. This suggests how Shinde was bestowed upon by his party. During this period a political move involving loyalty and disloyalty was being planned, and no one noticed it. The Shiv Sena fought against the Congress at rural level for the last three decades, and its existing MLAs have defeated the Congress and NCP. It would have been a difficult situation for them during the upcoming elections two and half years later. Hence, a faction that has now grown into a majority, developed within the party and demanded to break the ties. Shinde led this faction of MLAs. He invited them for dinner and took them to Surat via Palghar. Considering this act as rebellion, Thackeray later stripped him of his posts. Shinde’s mentor Anand Dighe would often say, there is no pardon for backstabber. Therefore it would be interesting to see what transpires next. Thackeray has already made it clear; they cannot be forgiven. There may be another reason for this. In 2019, Shiv Sena demanded the Chief Minister’s post for a two and half year period, and the BJP refused to do so. This ended a 25-year-old relationship. The coalition had completed its tenure of two and half years in May. Shiv Sena never bragged with BJP saying, we did what we wanted to do, for the gorge had developed beyond the possibility of a bridge.

On the other hand, what if NCP whose numbers were less by just a couple, than that of Shiv Sena had demanded the CMs post, was the ultimate question. Though Sharad Pawar had denied this equation and assured that Thackeray would complete the tenure of five years, everyone has seen how dynamics changed in politics when Shinde took oath as CM instead of Devendra Fadnavis. Hence, it would be interesting to see the next season of this political drama series.