The Maha Mess!

Amidst all the ills of social media we encounter, if there is one silver lining, it is its contribution towards bringing out the latent creativity among young Indians in the form of memes.  Whenever an important and unusual event happens, we are flooded with the most creative memes that not only make us LOL but also think.  So, when a couple of weeks ago we saw the bizarre turn of events in Maharashtra politics, some very funny memes were going around on social media!

One said that Maharashtra voters are so lucky that they voted to get 1 CM but in return, they have got 3 CMs, and 4 Deputy CMs so far in this term! The other one which is more hilarious said that Ajit Pawar must be the most sought-after Deputy CM that he could become one when three different people from three different parties became CMs!  In all these funny and comical moments, we must not forget that the joke is actually on us, the voters!

When the results of the Maharashtra state elections came out back in 2019, it was absolutely clear that the mandate was for a BJP led government with Shiv Sena as one of its allies. Within the NDA alliance, with 105 seats, BJP had almost double the numbers as Sena which won 56 seats.  BJP won 105 from 164 seats it contested with a strike rate of 64% while the Sena’s was just 44%. Had BJP contested all 288 seats as it did in 2014, it was possible that it could have got a clear majority on its own. It was clear that people opted for a re-run of the Devendra Fadnavis led BJP government which by all accounts had done a good job in terms of serious governance in Maharashtra.

Back during that regime, the irony was there for all to see. The virulent opposition to the government used to come not from any opposition parties but from the Sena which picked up quarrels with the government day in and day out on some issue or the other. Yet, before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi-Shah combine thought it wise to tie up with Sena for the Lok Sabha polls and the ensuing State polls. The resounding victory for this alliance in the 2019 polls where they won 43 of the 48 seats on offer gave credence to this move of coming together. But to many independent observers, it was clear as daylight that the Shiv Sena winning 18 seats was predominantly thanks to the Modi factor as people wanted to see the Modi led BJP back in power at the Centre.

It came therefore as a huge surprise when after the elections, looking at the arithmetic, Sena perhaps egged by NCP, refused to ally with the BJP in forming the government though they had a clear mandate and a pre-poll alliance in place. This then led from one thing to another the result of which we are seeing today in Maharashtra. Sena tied up with NCP and the Congress to form the government in 2019 which eventually fell when a chunk of Sena MLAs crossed over to support BJP in 2022. Usually, an action has a reaction. In Maharashtra though, Uddhav Sena’s reaction led to first an action and then an action replay!

Since the collapse of the MVA Sarkar, the government was actually functioning as a real Double Engine (DE) Sarkar – D for Devendra and E for Eknath! Any major event in the state had both the CM and the Deputy CM in attendance. All the ads had pictures of both with pictures of Modi, Bal Thackeray and Shinde’s mentor Anand Dighe in the backdrop. Though there were murmurs that Fadnavis was the one on the wheels, one could feel that Maharashtra was clawing back to action with this DE Sarkar, notwithstanding the proceedings in the court concerning the legitimacy of the Shinde Sena faction.

Even as this government led by Shinde got a breather from the courts and was finally settling down, we saw another Tamasha playing out two weeks ago. This time, a faction of NCP MLAs led by Ajit Pawar crossed over to support the BJP and has since become part of the Maha Yuti government now. In addition to the Sena which is battling factionalism, we have NCP joining its ranks too.

Within the short time of the birth of this DEA (Devendra – Eknath – Ajit) Sarkar now, we are already witnessing “Berth” pangs with wranglings going on for plum portfolios. Now imagine the plight of the officials and bureaucracy when all major events will be graced by the three of them! And will Sharad Pawar’s picture be there in the backdrop too, as he was the Guru and mentor of Ajit?

What is clearly emerging is that the elected representatives do not seem to bother with what their voting public thinks about all these shifts back and forth. It will be interesting therefore to see how Maharashtra voters treat these MLAs and their parties when they go back to them at the next opportunity. It is absolutely clear in this “Maha Mess” no party has covered itself with glory. The UBT faction for starting all this, the Sharad Pawar faction of NCP for fuelling the aspirations of Uddhav Thackeray in the first place, the Shinde faction for resorting to “resort politics” to share power, the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP for showing enormous ambition to be in the right side of power and finally the BJP for being the tent to accommodate all turncoats!

When the going was smooth for the DE sarkar in the state was there a need for the BJP to welcome a faction of the NCP at this stage? Well, the answer probably lies in the BJP’s nervousness around the arithmetic of the opposition MVA alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. In my opinion, it is the same nervousness that drove BJP to re-stitch its ties with the Sena just before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.  However, irrespective of the arithmetic of alliances as far as Lok Sabha polls are concerned, it is clear that people vote for Modi Vs Who contest in which Modi and therefore BJP has an upper hand clearly as of now.

In the ensuing state polls for Maharashtra by the end of 2024 however, the considerations will be different. Unless the existing DEA Sarkar does a fantastic delivery of governance on the ground in the next 12 months, the voters will be in a mood to punish the travesty of this “Post Poll Cash and Carry” politics, in my opinion. This is bound to hurt all the key parties in question. Unfortunately, given the fragmented nature of these parties dominating different parts of the state in Maharashtra, the result could be a Maha messy Khichdi once again, come the next state elections!

0 thoughts on “The Maha Mess!”

  1. Nicely summarised..It’s more of an anguish to see the Big band of Turncoats getting together..I feel BJP neednt have takenin the Dada and his gang and also rewarding them so handsomely with such a large number of Plum postings..’D&E’ have swallowed their pride and accomodated ‘A’…Will it be worth it..? What examples are we setting and seeing….Wonder who is the bigger loser..D or E….as Dada has gained without any doubts….Overall a really messy chapter in Maha Politics….Will the public deal with the next Elections in a manner that wud undo this damage…teaching every actor in this drama a befitting lesson..Hope so!!!

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