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Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena – New political chapter in chaos

Very much unexpected and some new combination, Maharashtra is in political confusion. In a fresh twist to the ongoing political drama in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena conveyed its willingness and staked its claim to form the government in the state. They showed their willingness and also risked our claim. They sought additional time of two days from the Governor, which was declined. Meanwhile, now governor has invited NCP to prove its majority. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar to discuss getting together to form government in Maharashtra in anticipation that he would immediately get some help to prove his majority. The meeting took place after the Sena’s only minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government, Arvind Sawant, resigned. That was NCP’s first condition for alliance with Shiv Sena to cut the complete ties with BJP and enter in new coalition. The Sena’s pullout was a key condition of the NCP to discuss an alliance in Maharashtra. In spite of obeying all the orders of Pawar, Uddhav could not get go ahead from him. Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi too kept him on hold stating they will revert back. The Congress indicated that it had not decided on supporting the Shiv Sena after many meetings and a phone conversation between Uddhav Thackeray and Sonia Gandhi. Uddhav Thackeray made “numerous calls” as the two ideologically mismatched parties tried to get past their differences to collaborate. Sharad Pawar tried to be the bridge between Uddhav Thackeray and a reluctant Congress as alliances shape-shifted in one of India’s biggest states.

The political turmoil continues, Shiv Sena went pin to polls but could not get numbers and support and finally they are on hold, everyone thought that the state seemed to incline towards a Sena-led government with NCP and Congress leaders discussing their options. Uddhav Thackeray pushed back his meeting with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the NCP left it to the Congress to take a call on whether to support a Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Sonia Gandhi met top party leaders and then called former chief ministers and others from Maharashtra to sound them out. Congress ministers has differences while accepting to align with Shiv Sena, the party which was very vocal and nasty attacking NCP-Congress in state. On the other hand BJP now remained silent and watching the drama.

Uddhav Thackeray knocked all the possible doors as the ideologically mismatched parties tried to get past their differences to collaborate in a government in Maharashtra. In the recent past many Congress and NCP leaders were taken into Shiv Sena denting these old national parties. So having Congress-NCP in the corridors was not new to Sena, but allegiance with extreme right-wingers could be suicidal for NCP and Congress, because people of Maharashtra never voted them to power. But at the same time, Congress-Sena and NCP always remained as friends and where ever they had to stretch their muscles, they exchanged good gestures. If we go to flashback, its in Congress era Shiv Sena was given birth, Congress that always supported Balasaheb. He was the strongman of Maharashtra who openly supported the proclamation of Emergency by the Indira Gandhi government. Shiv Sena has never been apologetic about Bal Thackeray’s support to Indira Gandhi‘s Emergency. Writing in Saamana last year, party spokesman Sanjay Raut said, “If the day when the Emergency was proclaimed by Indira Gandhi is to be called ‘Black Day‘, then there were many such ‘black days’ under the [current] central government. The day demonetisation was announced should also be called ‘Black Day’, as it created the economic anarchy.” However, support for the Emergency led to a serious drubbing of the Shiv Sena in the 1978 Maharashtra Assembly and local body elections. It hurt the party to such an extent that founder-chief Bal Thackeray offered to resign at a rally in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park. He withdrew his resignation following uproar against it in the party. But gradually and timely, he held hands of similar ideological party and that was BJP. Since then Shiv Sena always acted as big brother, but in the recent past Uddhav had to take lot of humiliation from new Modi’s BJP.

Sena and BJP were never in good terms, they were with each other for the sake of power and there were no ideological differences. BJP of this era gone not only arrogant but also unreasonable, the party also wanted to get rid of Devendra because of his greed and loud mouth speeches. He created rift within the Maharashtra BJP. He also failed to take people in to confidence. Meanwhile, in spite in alliance Shiv Sena and Uddhav tried their level best to safeguard the democracy by opposing and attacking BJP and Modi’s high-handed moves. Political Pundits always predicted about the rift between Sena-BJP sooner and the later. At the end, Uddhav Thackeray failed to show the numbers and now ball is in NCP’s court. Top Congress leaders, former Maharashtra CMs Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde as well as state unit chief Balasaheb Thorat met party president Sonia Gandhi but could not draw any conclusion. If these three parties come together, it would be difficult for BJP to retain power in state in coming future, because their seat share will never go beyond these three. The Sena is the second largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105). Given the stalemate between the two alliance partners, the role of the Congress with its 44 legislators and the Nationalist Congress Party with 54 MLAs is crucial. With this episode, the BJP and the Sena, long-term allies for around 30 years comes to an end. Well voters are actually confused because Sena has given them a faith that they can control BJP’s arrogance and still remain in coalition and all of sudden they took U turn and nothing is yet clear to people.

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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