Maharashtra politics

The Shiv Sena has been fuming off and on against the BJP in Maharashtra where it is running a coalition government with it. Now party supremo Uddhav Thakre is believed to be toying with the idea of getting out of the coalition. The 2014 State Assembly polls saw the BJP emerge as the single largest party, leaving the SS behind. Uddhav Thakre has been fretting since then. Now the possibility of Narayan Rane defecting from the Congress and joining the BJP has upset him very much. Rane was a senior SS leader who left the party to join the Congress way back in 2005. The BJP admitting Rane into its fold will naturally be hard for Thakre to stomach. Meanwhile, NCP has gravitated to the BJP and the calculation is that even if the SS leaves the coalition, the BJP will be able to save the government with NCP support. There are indications that the two parties are planning to fight the elections to the powerful sugar cooperatives unions jointly
But it will be difficult for Thakre to sever his ties with the BJP. The SS ministers in the Fadnavis cabinet are in no mood to quit. If Thakre tries to enforce any break up with the BJP, then that may lead to a breakup of his own party with many ministers and legislators defying him and opting for the BJP. Many SS legislators are also unhappy with their ministers. Some are reportedly ready to defect to the BJP because they think that no leader can function without power. Indeed, compulsions of power produce many bizarre political patterns and make many unlikely partners to become incompatible bedfellows. That a former SS leader may join the BJP rather than come back to his parent party in case he leaves the Congress is a measure of the weakness of the SS vis-à-vis BJP.
The Congress is in no position in Maharashtra to play an oppositional role to the Fadnavis Government. There are plenty of issues. A series of decisions taken by the Modi Government at the Centre – from demonetization to introduction of the GST – have created discontent against the Centre in every State including Maharashtra. But Congress has failed to capitalize on them. Unity of disparate opposition parties before elections has proved unviable again and again and no longer inspires confidence in the people. In the circumstances, the Shiv Sena quitting the coalition may cause further loss of stature of Uddhav Thakre.

Tuesday, 19 September, 2017