Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray took oath as Chief Minister of Maharashtra on November 28th. Being the first of his kind, Uddhav and Sena would have thought that they can now act as per their wishes in the state. To begin with, Sena was hopeful of a grand memorial and statue of Balasaheb Thackeray at Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The alliance in which they are, headed by Sharad Pawar, spilled water over all such ambitions with one swift stroke.
“Balasaheb Thackeray was a nature-lover. Creating his memorial is appreciable. But Balasaheb himself would not have liked the idea of cutting trees for it. He would have thrashed the one who tried to hack trees,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar said. As per reports, the said memorial was supposed to be built in the Priyadarshni Garden of the city, and required the felling of not less than 1000 trees for the same. This proposition of mass felling of full-grown trees for a memorial has reportedly miffed Sharad Pawar who would not want to be seen as political chameleon, as only recently all three parties, especially the NCP had vociferously opposed the cutting of tress in Aarey for a much required metro shed. Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray is said to have given “oral orders” against felling of trees for the proposed memorial, under evident pressure from Sharad Pawar.
Earlier, the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena had all opposed and perpetuated a campaign against the felling of tress in Mumbai’s Aarey area for the purpose of building a metro shed. Being the obvious dummy Chief Minister that Uddhav Thackeray is, he can at no cost afford to upset either the NCP or the Congress. Sharad Pawar meanwhile wields all the power in the alliance, being the eldest and most respected politician among the three parties. Aware of the compulsions of the Shiv Sena, Pawar has played a masterstroke by claiming that Balasaheb would not have wanted a memorial for him at the cost of a thousand trees. Moreover, the Sena cutting trees in Aurangabad, while pretending to protect them in Mumbai would play immensely to their disadvantage as they would be perceived as political turncoats (which they nevertheless are).
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Thursday called Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as a “dummy CM”, saying he has to seek approval from Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar before taking any decision; ‘compulsions of a coalition government’, in former PM Manmohan Singh’s words. Uddhav Thackeray was desperate to have a member of his family sitting on the CM chair. Being crowned with the position, he is bound to realize his folly as he wields next to no power in decision-making, and all steps that his party decides upon can be vetoed by the NCP or the Congress at any time. The Shiv Sena and its supporters are in no position to flex their muscles any longer, a stunt they pulled off almost everyday while still with the BJP. Even in matters relating to Balasaheb Thackeray, the Shiv Sena has no authority to take decisions. How the government will run the state for whatever little time they have with them is yet to be seen.