SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Maharashtra Stunner

 

By Poonam I Kaushish

 

It’s the silly political season when dictums ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ and a chameleon can change its colours depending on its mood, reign supreme. The latest classic case in the brazen shenanigans for satta played out in amchee Mumbai. Out of the window went joint ideology, corruption stigma and in sauntered underhand deals, backstabbing and diametrically opposite dogmas. Big deal if it went against the Constitutional ethos and resulted in dilution of the public mandate. Bluntly, BJP ne Shiv Sena ko jhatka diya, NCP ko sarkaar mein atkaa diya aur Congress ko latka diya!

 

The month-long political impasse in Maharashtra ended dramatically Saturday 8am with the BJP’s Fadnavis returning as Chief Minister with NCP’s Ajit Pawar as his Deputy. Obviously, this news shocked the Shiv Sena’s Thackeray, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Congress’s Sonia leaving all three with egg on their faces. For less than 12 hours earlier Pawar had announced unanimity among the three Parties of anointing Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister backed by the NCP and Congress.

 

It is a moot point how the BJP-‘breakaway’ NCP Government will cross the rubicon of a floor test on 30 November. As Ajit has only 7 as 47 of 54 MLAs continue to owe allegiance to Sharad. But the glare of power is so entrapping that Ajit is confident of swaying 36, two-thirds of the total NCP 54 MLAs to back the Fadnavis Government and escape disqualification under the provisions of the Anti-Defection Law.

 

The Saffron Brigade is confident of the support of 170 MLAs in a 288 member Assembly, notwithstanding the NCP, Congress and Sena steely guarding their flock to prevent poaching by the BJP. The Sena has also moved the Supreme Court against Governor Koshyari and demands a floor test within 24 hours.

 

Further, will Fadhnvis be able to project an image of cohesiveness specially against the backdrop of Ajit Pawar being accussed of a Rs 25000 crores Cooperative Bank scam by the Enforcement Directorate. Or will the case be put in thanda baksa with Ajit in power? Also forgotten in the euphoria are Fadnavis words uttered in 2014 of never aligning with the NCP since their corruption was proved in the Assembly.

 

Questionably, did Ajit engineer the split or is uncle Sharad the kingpin? Was the ED investigation used to split the NCP? Does it signal the end of the political road for Sharad who strode like colossus in Maharashtra politics?

 

Asserted Highway Minister Gadkhari, “Politics is like cricket anything can happen.” Naturally, the Sena is screaming blue murder and has accused Ajit of hatching the conspiracy due to his fears of the ED’s case against him, even as it gives Sharad Pawar a clean chit of having no role in the high drama. The Congress also believes that Ajit backstabbed his uncle. But to what end? Said a senior NCP leader, “He was going to be Dy CM in a NCP-SS-Congress Government too. Perhaps he wanted to come out of the shadows of his uncle and emerge a leader in his own right.”

 

While Sharad has distanced himself from Ajit’s move, tweeting that it is his nephew’s personal decision and the family and Party have split. However, not a few believe Pawar, the deft, astute and most-networked politician known for his back-room deal-cutting ability is behind Ajit’s move and gave his blessings to form a BJP-NCP Government after his one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Modi earlier in the week.

 

In fact, the nimble-footed tactician who holds his cards close to his chest lulled the Sena and Congress into complacency when he sent NCP MLAs to Raj Bhavan last week to extend support to the Shiv Sena without letters of support, which paved the way for President’s rule in the State. And later tied up with them.

 

Some feel Ajit who has always been projected as Sharad Pawar’s heir-apparent is unlikely to go against his uncle’s wishes. Recall, two months ago, he had gone to the extent of quitting politics in protest against Sharad being named in a corruption case by the ED, though he rescinded his decision later to contest and win the Assembly polls. But as they say, blood is not always thicker than water in politics!

 

Others, however state that all was not well in the Pawar clan as trouble had been brewing for the last few months triggered by disputes over ticket distribution for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections with Sharad and his daughter on one side and Ajit on the other. Supposedly, the latter was angry when his son was initially denied a ticket for the Lok Sabha poll and was placated when Sharad decided to opt out and gave the ticket to his grand nephew.  

  

There is no gainsaying that the Maha stunner in India’s commercial Capital have exposed the worst kind of politicking. A power-play when personality-oriented malicious vilification seems to have became the hallmark of democracy. Whereby politics is not about building one’s reputation like a mountain and standing on it. But about digging pits for everyone else to fall into, so as to appear the only one without fault.

 

This succinctly is aaj ki rajneeti. The issue is not about Maharashtra alone. This kind of politricking is all encompassing. What can one expect in a milieu where the secular enemies and communal friends are rolled into one all agree to disagree on the aftermath. Thus turning India’s evolving democracy on its head. Instead of electing a representative Government, we are instead saddled with opportunities and liars. Exposing as never before the out and out disdain with which our political class holds democracy and the aam aadmi.

 

Thus, in this game of lies, deceit and deception, the BJP, NCP, SS and Congress reflect the emerging truth of today’s India. Power is all. Arguably, one can say this is what democracy is all about. If arch enemies are willing to align with each other, then why have elections at all? Ideally, all should grasp the reality of parliamentary democracy. The people’s verdict should be honoured before they go in search for the aphrodisiac called power and talk formation of a new Government with all and sundry. Sans shared ideology and mutual objectives.

 

Worse, in these artificially made alignments, we are persuaded to believe that ends justify the means. Alas, so caught up in the verbose of one-upmanship are all that none stops to think and ponder the implications of their actions. What matters is only the end game: Gaddi.

 

What next? Politics is the art of making possible the impossible. Today, it is all about “Modi hai to mumkin hai!” As for Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Sonia they would do well to remember, victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan. It remains to be seen whether greed for power will keep Fadnavis-Ajit united because unity can be broken with a flick of the finger.

 

In the ultimate, our polity need to remember that political fevicol is not the binder for a nation’s moral and emotional fabric. Nor do quick fix remedies provide any relief! —- INFA

 

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