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Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena – New political chapter of Maharashtra

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Very much expected and a new combination of leaders, Maharashtra is finally getting its government.  Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar at an undisclosed location in Mumbai to discuss getting together to form government in Maharashtra. The meeting took place after the Sena’s only minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Arvind Sawant, resigned. Because 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 pull-out was a key condition of the NCP to discuss an alliance in Maharashtra. After weeks of turmoil, the state seemed to inclined towards a Shiv 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. Congress president Sonia Gandhi met top party leaders on Friday morning and then called former chief ministers and others from Maharashtra to sound them out.

Uddhav Thackeray also spoke to Sonia Gandhi as the two ideologically mismatched parties tried to get past their differences to collaborate in a government in Maharashtra. In the recent past years many Congress and NCP leaders had joined Shiv Sena. So having Congress-NCP in the corridors was not new to Sena. If you go to flashback, its in Congress era Shiv Sena was given birth, Congress has 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 editorial mouthpiece of Sena 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 hurts 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 a 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 and unreasonable but also wanted to get rid of Devendra Fadnavis because of his greed and loud mouth speeches. He created rift within the Maharashtra BJP and failed to take people into confidence. Meanwhile, in spite in alliance Shiv Sena leaders and Uddhav tried their level best to safeguard the democracy by opposing and attacking BJP and Modi’s undemocratic moves.

Political Pundits always predicted this coalition to happen sooner or the later. The Shiv Sena was invited by the Maharashtra Governor to indicate “willingness and ability” to form government in the state after the BJP said it would not stake claim to power. Top Congress leaders, former Maharashtra CMs Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde as well as state unit Chief Balasaheb Thorat met Sonia Gandhi and decided to support the Shiv Sena in forming a government in the state. 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.

Uddhav Thackeray is tipped to be chief minister, with an NCP deputy, in a formula that has been in circulation over the weekend amid talks of a non-BJP alliance. 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. The Shiv Sena took the claim on given time. With this episode, the BJP and the Sena, long-term allies for around 30 years comes to an end. In an editorial in Saamana, the Sena warned BJP to mend its ways and fulfill the promises made for alliance stating, “With 54 MLAs of NCP, 44 Cong MLAs and few independents, we can reach majority. The Sena can present its own Chief Minister and for that, three parties with independent ideology should form policies which are acceptable to all”. Well voters are actually happy, because Sena has given them a faith that they can control BJP’s arrogance.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for past 16 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs. Besides journalism, she is also an Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author.
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