When considering the present political scenario in India, coalitions have undoubtedly become the order of the day.
While one can’t lament the shortage of political parties in the country; in their quest for power, it is the inability of each one of them in any election to win a majority on their own. This then has prompted an alliance between the most unlikeliest of partners who it appears come together only to share power.
However, more than the ideological dissimilarities, it is the power struggle within the union that has brought sharp differences between the allies which finally ends up with the dissolution of the alliance.
Though a compulsion, are coalitions sounding the death-knell for clean and ethical politics in the country!
With its power-sharing formula with the Shiv Sena running into rough weather even before the alliance government in Maharashtra had taken shape, the BJP, now, might well be realizing that a honeymoon with the Shiv Sena should have been the last of options ever envisaged by it.
In fact the Shiv Sena has been having a very vibrant innings in the state’s politics all along. After being associated with the BJP for well over 25 years, the Shiv Sena decided to sever the alliance over seat-sharing issue and both decided to contest the 2014 state assembly elections independently.
However, after hectic negotiations there was a change of heart and the Sena decided to join the BJP-government.
In 2018, however, both the BJP and Shiv Sena parted ways once again only to announce an alliance for the general elections as well as the state assembly elections in 2019.
The number of times their ‘union’ has been truncated, and cemented in equally fast time, should be an indicator of the Sena’s fervent wish to exercise absolute control over Maharashtra, with or without the Saffron party.
Going by public sentiments, Maharashtra had all along favoured a BJP-led government in the state. And the election results proved that! But it was the matter of an ‘association’ that was making the party run around in circles.
No doubt the Shiv Sena in recent times purports to be an integral part of any power equation in the state. But the regional outfit is known to engage in political intrigues time and again to assert its claims of being that face of Maharashtra which has chiefly catered to the interests of the Marathi Manoos.
On the other end; after the stupendous performance of the NCP-Congress alliance this time, there were even hints of an NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena coalition assuming office in the state.
How true the rumours have turned out to be now!
But as they say, “there is many a slip between the cup and the lip”! And the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ found it the hard way!
If the midnight Mumbai high drama is anything to go by, it becomes quite apparent that in the event of elections to any state assembly, the BJP will undoubtedly form the government there.
The certainty with which this has been happening makes one wonder whether the respect for people’s mandate holds any significance for the BJP!
Deemed as the very essence of democracy, while the Saffron party has been blatantly violating it time and again with an impunity that is shocking; it is all the more painful to observe the knee-jerk reactions of the ‘rightful claimants’ to the gross irregularities committed.
It’s like children crying over spilt milk!
Despite the body of voters in many states disapproving of the BJP and its ‘unethical’ ways, the other parties somehow lack the wherewithal to challenge the BJP and its despicable manoeuvrings which further emboldens the saffron party to carry out such coups.
One would however lament the lack of integrity among many of our politicians today which the BJP has very tactfully exploited to its advantage. That many of the opposition leaders are embroiled in various scams has further given the BJP think-tank the leverage it requires to cajole and threaten them with.
Is it a wonder then that an opposition leader who according to the BJP in Maharashtra should have been behind bars for his acts of omission and commission is anointed the second-in-command of the BJP-led government no sooner he switches loyalty!
Of course procrastination and the talks on sharing of power cost the new alliance of Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress dear.
Nevertheless that should not be proffered as an excuse for the stunning turn of events that saw the return of BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Blaming the governor for exercising his prerogative wouldn’t however be right as gubernatorial posts in India have always had political connotations attached to them and he would have seemed to act in accordance with the unwritten diktats of the ‘appointment’.
But in a quick turn of events, the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ now finds fortune favouring them!
Despite all the machinations by party leaders to install its government at the helm, the association between the BJP and Ajit Pawar in Maharashtra just refused to take off and the state now awaits another alliance to take over the reins.
Not that the return of the ‘prodigal’ would signal any significant change in equations for the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress combine which has already set a plan in motion for bringing stability in governance to a state that has been witnessing political uncertainties from the day election results were announced.
With a BJP-led government at the helm in Delhi, it was but obvious that no efforts would be spared to have the saffron-party at the epicenter of every deliberation when envisaging a government formation in the state.
Moreover, as the single-largest party, the BJP was well within its rights to forge alliances with other parties in order to achieve the figures required to form the government.
However, it was with a fair amount of trepidation that Mumbai and the whole of Maharashtra ‘welcomed’ the Chankya-Neethi enacted by the BJP which had Fadnavis joining hands with junior Pawar in an apparent bid to wrest power.
A disastrous move that may have has a very few precedents in the country’s recent political history, it is an explicit example of BJP’s desperation to cling to power at any cost.
It is time the saffron-party realized that in politics the ‘carrot and stick’ approach as a negotiation tactic cannot always be relied upon to induce a desired behavior among opponents.
However, over the last few years, the ‘political thrillers’ that have characterized government-formations in states where the Lotus has been overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate, yet manage to install its own dispensation with the help of turncoats cannot however portend a healthy sign for Indian democracy!
Yet, with the changing power equation in the state’s politics altering with every passing day, people have not stopped expecting surprises along the way.
(Published on 02nd December 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 49)