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Bihar-like bet in Maharashtra?

Maharashtra’s bet is a masterstroke or a game of compulsion? If there is a masterstroke, then how effective will it be in future politics and if there is a compulsion then how did such compulsion come? At first glance, toppling the Uddhav Thackeray-led government seems to be a masterstroke. But seeing the politics that is happening after that, it seems that the drum of compulsion has been embraced, which the BJP has to play. That’s exactly where the story happened, which happened in Bihar in 2020. Weakening Janata Dal-U through Chirag Paswan was a masterstroke but what happened after that is compulsion in front of the world. JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar is the chief minister by winning only 43 seats and the BJP, which won 74 seats, is a laggard. No BJP minister has any status in the state government and under compulsion, BJP has to say that Nitish Kumar is the leader of NDA in Bihar.

Something similar has happened in Maharashtra as well. Uddhav Thackeray’s government fell due to a masterstroke, but after that, Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde had to be made the chief minister. Had the BJP accepted Uddhav Thackeray’s words in October 2019 and agreed on two-and-a-half years of power sharing, it would have been the BJP’s chief minister today. But it hasn’t happened. Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena was the Chief Minister for more than two and a half years and now Eknath Shinde of Shiv Sena has become. The compulsion of the BJP was understood that it had tried to create trouble for Shiv Sena by making Shinde the CM, but it could not be understood that why did it make Rahul Narvekar, who came from Shiv Sena, the speaker of the assembly? The BJP has no shortage of its leaders, yet it made Rahul Narvekar, who was earlier in the Shiv Sena, the speaker. From there he went to NCP and joined BJP only five-six years ago. Think, a Shiv Sainik is the Chief Minister and a former Shiv Sainik is a Speaker. Yet BJP is taking credit for running the masterstroke!

In fact, it seems that Devendra Fadnavis had decorated the entire game of Maharashtra for himself. After the 2019 assembly elections, he was fuming because he could not become the Chief Minister. His goal was to somehow reach the chief minister’s chair. For this he was doing private enterprise. It may be that he has got consent from the high command itself, but the whole episode seems to be more of his private enterprise. When this venture became successful after two and a half years of hard work, Fadnavis could not become the Chief Minister due to internal power equation. Due to this internal power equation, Fadnavis was compelled to take the post of Deputy Chief Minister. That’s why fewer BJP leaders are calling it a masterstroke and television anchors are making more air.

Now the question is, how effective will this alleged masterstroke be? Will Eknath Shinde sit on the chief minister’s chair and capture the Shiv Sena at the behest of the BJP? If this happens, on the contrary, there will be sympathy for Uddhav. If this does not happen and Shiv Sena remains under the command of Uddhav Thackeray, it will continue to be a big force. Anyway, such regional parties, which are led by the family members of the founder of the party, his legacy remains with the family till the end. Even if such parties break up, the original party does not cease to exist. People who vote for such parties are more committed to the individual than to the party and its ideology. Remember how many times Bahujan Samaj Party has broken? In the initial days, the BSP used to break after every election. Its MLAs used to go with the BJP and sometimes with the SP, but then in the next elections, the BSP used to come after winning. The latest example is from Rajasthan, where six BSP MLAs won and all went to the Congress. But in the next election, BSP will win again. In the name of Kanshi Ram and Mayawati, new people will get votes and new people will win.

So, Uddhav Thackeray may not be a daring or roaring fanatical Hindu leader like Bal Thackeray, but his humbleness is not his weakness. After all, Mayawati is also not an intellectual or committed leader like Kanshi Ram or Tejashwi Yadav is also not a leader of land connected and messiah image of backwards like her father Lalu Prasad or Hemant Soren is also not like Shibu Soren in the fight of water, jungle, land. There are no fighting leaders or even MK Stalin carrying the charisma of Karunanidhi, yet these leaders led the party in good times and bad. Therefore, it is certain that even if the picture looks like now, Shiv Sena is not going to go out of the Thackeray family. Shiv Sainiks are actually soldiers of the Thackeray family. Will Eknath go with Shinde when he does not accompany Bal Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray? Raj Thackeray had been doing more fanatical Hindutva and Marathi identity politics than Uddhav from the beginning! Hence the claim that Uddhav had left the path of Hindutva, therefore Shiv Sainiks will go with Shinde.

BJP is also understanding this somewhere or the other. So there is not much enthusiasm in the party. Think, if everything had been done according to the planning of the BJP, then how it would have sounded in the national executive of the party in Hyderabad! But in the two-day national executive there was no mention of such a big development in Maharashtra. By law, Devendra Fadnavis should have been the hero of the national executive but he did not even go to Hyderabad to join it. If the entire development of Maharashtra was kept so low profile, it means that whatever is happening is the compulsion of the BJP. BJP is not a party to give up. Even in Bihar, he has not given up, under compulsion, Nitish Kumar is considered a leader. Eknath Shinde has been made CM in the same compulsion. And despite doing all this the BJP is not very sure about the political outcome ahead.

Shubham Bangwal

Shubham Bangwal is a Senior Journalist at You can follow him on Twitter @sb_0fficial
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