POLITICS SANS PRINCIPLES

It’s hard to predict what shape the Maharashtra politics will take in the coming weeks, as the air of uncertainty is thickening with each passing day. The Supreme Court had to have a special sitting to sort out the mess. Monday is the floor test which too is a weighty question. The dramatic swearing in of BJP heavyweight Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar as deputy CM has been challenged before the Supreme Court.  A court ruling by itself will not be the end of the crisis enveloping the state politics anyway, as there are so many twists and turns to the tale, and more are in the offing. It is too early to predict anything yet and we are yet to hear the last word.

One way to look at the scenario is to blame the Governor who had  allowed the two leaders to be sworn in form the government without a physical show of strength. Simply put, the three parties namely the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress have with them a majority of MLAs in the 288-member assembly, based on the October 24 results. What the BJP hoped for was horse-trading as a last resort.

Ajit Pawar ditched his party chief and moved over to the side of the BJP at the precise moment Pawar declared the plans to allow Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to form the next government with NCP and Congress support. The infighting within the Pawar family between nephew Ajit and daughter Supriya Sule provided the BJP with the right chance to break up the NCP. How far the BJP has succeeded in this is not easy to gauge now.

With the Congress and the NCP herding their MLAs to safe locations to avert possibilities of poaching by the BJP, the long drama has ended for now. Stability will be impossible even if the three parties formed a government. NCP and the Shiv Sena are regional rivals, and both would find it difficult to sail in one boat. BJP with its resources could be in a position to pull down the government any time. Moreover, the chances of a BJP-led ministry surviving the odds are more, given the clout of the party at the national level.

The Shiv Sena was the first to try an unholy alliance with the NCP and the Congress if only to spite its long-time ally, the BJP, with which it fought the assembly polls in an alliance format. The BJP’s attempt to run a government in association with an NCP leader too violated basic norms.

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