By Sushil Kutty


There’s something royal sounding about Raosaheb Danve. For those who don’t know, he is Minister of State for Consumer Affairs in the Narendra Modi Government and an MP from Maharashtra. He’s one of the many BJP Union ministers who is neither seen nor heard in the normal rung of things unless it’s on the diktats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president ‘these days’ JP Nadda. So, it was that a rather bewildered and perplexed bunch of Indians asked, “Raosaheb Danve, who?” when the rather invisible minister in the largely invisible Modi ministry turned crystal-gazer and Nostradamus combined! Much like Sanjay Raut, Rajya Sabha MP and Saamna editor-in-chief, Raosaheb Danve delivered an ultimatum.


Danve stumbled out of the BJP woodwork and told the world that the Maha Vikas Aghadi Maharashtra government and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s time was up! It was like a court clerk serving notice – a subpoena! Raosaheb Danve gave Uddhav Thackeray and the MVA government three months more, and then it would be kaput, a ‘dhobi-pachchaad’ like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would say.


Raosaheb Danve was addressing a bunch of BJP workers in his neck of the Maharashtra woods – Aurangabad. The BJP minister was campaigning for his party for next month’s Legislative Council election to the Aurangabad Graduate constituency. Quite aware of the note of despondency among BJP workers because the Party is out of power, Danve sought to inject some enthusiasm in them. And in today’s Maharashtra, this can be done only with a promise to return to power and pelf.


Danve it turns out is also a mathematician. “BJP workers should not think that our government will not come into existence in Maharashtra. We will form the government in the next two-three months. We have worked out the mathematics. We are waiting for the ongoing elections to (the Legislative Council) to get over,” Raosaheb, who is MP from Jalna, said on November 23, 2020.


November 23 has its own particular significance for the BJP in Maharashtra. This was the day a year ago when ex-Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP’s Ajit Pawar were sworn in as CM and deputy CM by the Maharashtra Governor only to be sworn-out in extra quick time. Since then, the date has stuck in the BJP’s gullet and it will come unstuck only when the BJP ousts ‘traitor-in-chief minister’ Uddhav Thackeray from power.


For sure, it must not have been Raosaheb Danve laying out the bet on his own that the MVA government would be out in “next two-three months.” The ultimatum must have been delivered at the behest of powers that be in the BJP in the national capital Delhi. The Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government lasted all of 80 hours and there’s been no greater shame for the BJP anywhere at any time like that.  


Incidentally, Danve’s prediction came within hours of Fadnavis telling media in the same Aurangabad area that “at the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government”, the oath ceremony of the next BJP government would not take place at dawn as it was a year ago, on November 23, 2019. “When the present government in the state collapses, the oath ceremony will not take place at dawn,” once-bitten-twice-shy Fadnavis told party workers.


The fact is, the BJP and Fadnavis can’t wait to get their hands again on the crown jewel of India, Maharashtra. Getting hold of Maharashtra is worth its weight in gold. As the BJP would know it and Devendra Fadnavis would also know it. Why, even the common-most BJP worker in Maharashtra would know it. Maharashtra is the richest state in the Union of India and Mumbai, its capital, is the financial mother-lode of Bharat, Hindustan – India!


Mumbai is home to a good chunk of the world’s billionaires and there’s also Bollywood and Parle G and all the other industries which make India. Right now, Mumbai and Maharashtra, like all places in the country bar none, are in the grips of the rampaging coronavirus and Covid-19 is set to remain focus for the government at the Centre, and for the one in the state.


Which is why probably Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his MVA Government did not reply to Raosaheb Danve and his prediction/ultimatum, untimely as it was. It was only a couple of days before November 23 that CM Uddhav Thackeray addressed Maharashtra and told citizens that a “second wave of Covid-19 would be a tsunami.” So, be careful and don’t take things lightly, the Chief Minister told his people, the note of desperation loud and clear.


It’s not lost on anyone that Uddhav Thackeray has had a testing time ever since he took charge of Maharashtra exactly a year ago. The BJP took the Shiv Sena decision to tie in with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party as treason on the high seas! So, it was rank opportunism. But, what was it when the BJP tied up with the PDP in J&K – celluloid Mutiny on the Bounty?


It’s very easy to label people and parties anti-national. But it’s common knowledge that there are neither friends nor enemies in politics. And ideology is a wrap worn at night and stripped at dawn. So, day dawned for the Shiv Sena and the world realized that below the veneer of communalism, there was a layer of whole-green secularism!


And please don’t hark back to daddy’s firebrand modus operandi. This apple fell way away from the tree and nobody noticed it. Uddhav Thackeray may be seen as unlike Balasaheb Thackeray, but can anybody deny the fact that Uddhav had grown up in the shadow of his father. It cannot be that the father did not know his son!


Today, as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray fights Covid-19 and its onslaught, it’s quite apparent that the BJP cannot dethrone Uddhav Thackeray without Uddhav deciding to oust himself! For, where’s the support for BJP going to come from? The Congress! The NCP! Raosaheb Danve knows it, and the BJP knows it. This MVA Government will be around for more than the “next two-three months.”   (IPA Service)


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