Since joining the Maha Vikas Aghadi last year, Shiv Sena has been constantly exposed and made to play the second fiddle whilst compromising on its ideology.
There have been several instances where Shiv Sena had to succumb to pressure from the other two parties in the coalition. The ideology that Shiv Sena used to nurture instilled by Bal Thackeray has perished since then and some of the decisions that the Uddhav Thackeray led party has taken since its rather unceremonious split from NDA has left many political pundits in the circuit in a tizzy.
After being vociferously against building detention centres in the state of Maharashtra comes another U-turn from the party.
According to a report by Navbharat Times, after getting approval of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a Model Detention Center Manual to the Government of Maharashtra and amidst opposition from Congress and NCP over the issue in the coalition government, the Uddhav government has started the process of taking possession of a temporary detention centre in a hurried manner.
According to a senior official, the search for land for a permanent detention centre is also underway. This comes as a U-turn from Uddhav and his Shiv Sena as the state Chief Minister in December, last year had said that he would not allow detention centres to be set up in the state under the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise.
Uddhav had reportedly scrapped his predecessor Devendra Fadnavis’ decision to build first such centre for illegal immigrants in Nerul in Navi Mumbai. The three-acre site in Nerul earlier housed the Navi Mumbai Police’s Women Welfare Centre and had been identified by the previous government’s home department to build the detention centre.
This change of stance comes after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, the estranged cousin of Uddhav Thackeray jumped into the fray and started stirring up the politically charged climate of Maharashtra by declaring support to NDA government for evicting Pakistani and Bangladeshi infiltrators.
The MNS’ Hindutva push comes nearly two months after the Shiv Sena joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government in Maharashtra and it seems to have paid dividends as the U-turn proves.
Raj Thackeray in a pro-CAA rally had warned of a “befitting reply” to anti-CAA and NRC protestors and said, “a morcha will be answered with a morcha, a stone with a stone and a sword with a sword”.
Trying to reciprocate his late Uncle Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva cause, Raj recently unveiled his party’s new saffron flag and is clearly looking to find his old footing in the state by taking up the ideological spot left vacant by Shiv Sena. In doing so, he has put tremendous pressure on Shiv Sena which has compromised big time on its Hindu ideology in recent times. The party once known for its nationalist and patriotic approach and dreamt about the idea of ‘Akhand Bharat’, is now behaving like a headless chicken by defying all the ideological barriers and is in a downward spiral since joining the crony coalition.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant had recently sought information from the Union Home Ministry raising the issue of CAA and NRC in the Lok Sabha. It sought details of the model detention centre manual for the states, the number of detention centres in current condition, the number of people currently housed in these detention centres, the capacity of the centre and the detention centres under construction.
In a written reply to this, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that in view of the directions of the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs has prepared a model detention centre/camp manual after discussion and it was circulated to all the state governments. The manual contains legal provisions regarding detention and deportation of a foreign national, categories of detained persons and facilities provided in detention centres. “State Governments need to set up detention centres according to their needs to detain such illegal migrants who have completed their sentences and are in the process being detained from the country.” Rai further said in the response.
It needs to be seen if Uddhav had a change of heart or not but whatever the case may be, for the time being, sanity has prevailed in the Shiv Sena camp which has been hell-bent on committing Hara-kiri steps one after another.