In the portfolio distribution of Maharashtra, it seems Uddhav Thackeray has been made the titular head of the state only. The two of the most important ministries- Finance and Home– went to Nationalist Congress Party. Even the post of Deputy CM was bagged by senior NCP leader, Ajit Pawar.
Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of the state, has insignificant portfolios like General Administration, Law and Judiciary, Information and Public Relations, and Information Technology.
NCP bagged the maximum number of ministries with 12 cabinet ministers and 4 ministers of state out of total 43. Apart from Finance and Home, the party bagged Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection; State Excise; Labour; Water Resources; Public Health and Family Welfare; Rural Development; Hosing; as well as Social Justice departments.
It is very evident that all the important portfolios went to NCP, and Uddhav Thackeray has been made just a glorified signatory, just like Manmohan Singh in the UPA government.
In the UPA government, every minister used to treat his ministry as his own empire, and the Prime Minister’s office was more or less insignificant. Similarly in the Maharashtra, the office of Chief Minister will not have any de facto power, and every minister will treat his/her ministry as his/her own empire.
Shiv Sena has bagged the insignificant ministries like Marathi language, Forest, Urban Development, Employment Guarantee, so on. Aaditya Thackeray, the 29 year old scion of Thackeray family, has been awarded with Environment, Tourism and Protocol. On the other hand, Congress has got PWD, Revenue, Energy, and School Education.
It is very much evident that all the meaty ministries had been bagged by NCP, and Shiv Sena and Congress party are in the alliance only due to necessities. Congress party does not want a BJP government in the state, and the recent theatrics of Ajit Pawar has already proven that NCP will not hesitate in allying with BJP for power.
Similarly, Shiv Sena does not want to carry on with BJP as it fears of becoming irrelevant in the Hindutva wave of Modi and Shah, and the party being galloped by BJP. Therefore, it had asked for the CM post for half term, and when the demand was not met, it decided to go with the NCP and Congress.
With the CM post, Uddhav Thackeray has been made the titular head of state while NCP wields the read influence in the government. Although almost all the players of the alliance got what they wanted, the real losers in this alliance are the people of Maharashtra.
The Congress NCP leaders have always been in power in Maharashtra except for the mid-1990s and mid-2010s. They have been out of power for 5 years and their arc of influence in co-operative bodies as well as other state controlled and semi-state bodies was reduced. As they are in power once again, they will make up for the last five years, and will try expanding their territory. All the reforms and the cleanup drive by the Fadnavis government in the last five years will go in vain.
NCP, being in the most comfortable situation in this alliance, is trying its best to keep it intact and subservient to its own best interests. Both Sena and Congress are well aware of this prevalent scenario, and as such, they can do nothing but agree to NCP’s demands.
Sharad Pawar- the man who enjoyed unrivaled power in the state of Maharashtra before Modi changed the equations in 2014, is pulling the strings once again, and he will continue to do so till the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is in power.