The events that have taken place in the state of Maharashtra over the past few weeks have absolutely plummeted the popularity of Uddhav Thackeray as the Maha Vikas Aghadi hops from one blunder to another. Upon having a closer look at the events, it is not far-fetched to say that something larger is afoot and it’s all part of a master plan crafted by Sharad Pawar to topple Uddhav Thackeray while keeping the Maha Vikas Aghadi intact.
Anyone who’s familiar with the politics of Maharashtra knows that Sharad Pawar is loyal to no one except himself. Sharad Pawar’s career has been afoot with lies and deceits right from splitting the Congress to become the Maharashtra CM to allying with ideologically opposite Shiv Sena, he has done it all.
It is a known fact that the Maha Vikas Aghadi is a spitting image of the Manmohan led UPA government as Manmohan Singh was just a puppet Prime Minister while the real power centre resided in 10 Janpath. In Maharashtra, while Uddhav continues to be the Chief Minister, it is Sharad Pawar who is calling the shots in the state government.
As the state struggles to battle the pandemic, the likes of Deputy CM Ajit Pawar have completely gone missing, leaving the state at the mercy of Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray. The events that took place in Bandra was just a stone’s throw away from Uddhav Thackeray’s residence, Matoshree. Uddhav is facing the heat for the incident and rightly so. It was massive failure of the state machinery which will further plunge Mumbai into the deadly wings of the virus.
It has now emerged that the congregation was pre-planned by a certain Vinay Dubey. Dubey was seen inciting people through his posts on social media platforms. The same Vinay Dubey gladly boasts on Facebook of meeting the state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on April 10. It turns out, Vinay Dubey had earlier fought elections on an NCP ticket as he unsuccessfully contested the UP elections in 2012 from the seat of Varanasi North.
Uddhav has many shortcomings but he is not that dumb to have orchestrated a large gathering to paint the Modi government in bad light so close to his residence. He had absolutely nothing to gain from it, but Sharad Pawar had everything to gain from it as Uddhav Thackeray came under the line of fire, while Pawar played the role of a fatherly figure.
Sharad Pawar’s reaction to the Bandra incident was quick and smooth as he took to Facebook to say, “I would also request political parties that we may fight politically but this is not the time to score over each other. It is not the time to think who is in power at the Centre and in the state. We should take steps to defeat the coronavirus.” Pawar just like Uddhav, contradicted Aaditya Thackeray’s stance of blaming the Centre as he appealed that the political parties to desist from scoring points over each other during the pandemic.
In a blatant form of VVIP racism, DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan who are already under the scanner in PMC and Yes Bank scams, were allowed to travel from Mumbai to their ancestral home in Mahabaleshwar by the Maharashtra government despite the nationwide lockdown. Amitabh Gupta, special principal secretary in the Home Department, had given a letter to Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan which facilitated their travel along with 21 others inspite of the lockdown.
Expectedly, IPS Officer Gupta was made the scapegoat and sent on compulsory leave. There is enough evidence to suggest that both the Bandra and Wadhawan fiasco wouldn’t have been possible without the knowledge and the tacit support of the state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who incidentally also belongs to the NCP. Now, why would a senior IPS officer sign on such a sensitive letter without the approval of the state Home Ministry? Did Anil Deshmukh have really no knowledge of the pre-planned Bandra congregation despite meeting the alleged perpetrator, Vinay Dubey? Just a couple of hundred metres away from the Bandra station in Bandra East there is a police station and such large gathering couldn’t have happened in Bandra without the knowledge of the state Home Ministry.
A petty goon masquerading as a politician, Jitendra Awhad recently stirred up a storm as he sent his goons to pick up a common man over his Facebook post criticising the state Housing Minister. A 40-year old man, residing in Thane’s Ghodbunder Road was brutally thrashed by the state cabinet minister and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad’s and his gang of thugs. “On Sunday night, two policemen came to my house and said that they wanted to take me to the police station as their superior wanted to enquire about some case,” said the victim Anant Karmuse. The cops instead of taking him to the Police station took him to Awhad’s bungalow. “Upon reaching there, 10 to 15 men were already present, the security guard informed the minister and soon those men started beating me. They thrashed me with lathis, belt, and bamboos after the stick broke,” he further claimed. The entire episode happened in front of the minister.
Now the goons who thrashed Anant Karmuse have tested positive for the coronavirus and there are conflicting reports that Jitendra Awhad too has tested positive for the virus — a claim denied by the Awhad. There are no prizes for guessing to which party Jitendra Awhad belongs to. Awhad is known to be a lackey of Sharad Pawar and hence, Uddhav Thackeray didn’t dare utter a word against the blatant hooliganism of his own minister.
During the Maharashtra elections, the Shiv Sena faced a major embarrassment from their stronghold of Bandra East. Shiv Sena fielded the then Mayor of Mumbai, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar thinking of scoring an easy win, but a party rebel ended up contesting the same seat which cut the votes of Shiv Sena and saw the seat fall to Zeeshan Siddiqui of INC who is the son of Baba Siddiqui of the Iftar party fame. Now, Zeeshan Siddiqui has ended up exposing the state government as he claimed that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has not provided any food to the migrant workers. He further added that he specifically requested the state government to help the migrants but to no avail and he has been helping the migrants in his personal capacity.
While, Uddhav Thackeray claims that more than six lakh migrant workers have been taken care of, Zeeshan Siddiqui claims that no such help is provided to migrants residing in Badra West and East. Siddiqui added that he and his father in their personal capacity have helped 45,000 migrants with food and ration as they haven’t received any ration from the state government.
Now, why would Zeeshan Siddiqui will comment against his own government, knowing fully well that this will end up causing a stir in an already fragile alliance? It seems that Sharad Pawar is weaving a narrative that let alone Maharashtra and even Mumbai, Uddhav Thackeray can’t even control Bandra.
Understandably so, the incidents have caused irreparable damage to the image of Uddhav Thackeray. It is no co-incidence that all the three incidents saw a key role played by the senior leaders of the NCP.
Maharashtra is soon going to face a constitutional crisis as Uddhav Thackeray is yet to be elected as an MLA or an MLC as his six month period is soon going to be up. The six month lease given by the Constitution (under Article 164) to Thackeray comes to an end on May 28. Thackeray was expecting to be elected to the legislative council, elections to which had been scheduled for March 26 along with the Rajya Sabha polls, which were subsequently postponed indefinitely by the Election Commission due to the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Given the prevailing circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no way the Election Commission will hold the MLC elections before the given date, only to allow Uddhav the luxury to continue as CM.
There is still a way out for Thackeray, to which the Maharashtra cabinet resorted on Thursday. Uddhav Thackeray is to be nominated to the legislative council from Governor’s quota, on the recommendation of the state cabinet. The Governor’s quota has two vacant seats in the Legislative Council, whose terms expire in June. However, Uddhav’s deadline is May 28.
Also, Governor B.S Koshiyari, a BJP veteran, is no fan of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. Therefore, Uddhav Thackeray’s destiny currently lies in the hands of a Governor, who he and his compatriots accused of bias. What an irony it is that the same Governor will now take a call as to whether Uddhav is to be nominated as MLC or not.
It seems that Sharad Pawar has sensed an opening and as a result, may well have chosen to destroy every speck of Uddhav’s popularity, and project himself as the more suitable candidate for CM — who will rise from the ashes and ‘save’ Maharashtra from the throngs of the coronavirus. It is not far-fetched to think that Pawar will convince Thackeray to temporarily step down to avoid plunging Maharashtra into a political crisis and thereby officially assume control of the state, only to never relinquish it.
Except Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut, no one believes that the government is going to last the full term. Uddhav knows he is on borrowed time and at the mercy of Sharad Pawar as he has refused to take any action against the NCP ministers who are hell bent on destroying his popularity.
Except the fact that both the NCP and Shiv Sena are ideologically opposite, they are also direct competitors in the electoral battle. One main reason why the BJP gave the Shiv Sena more seats than it deserved in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was the fact that in absence of an alliance with the Shiv Sena, almost the entire 2014 LS tally of Shiv Sena would shift to the NCP. While the BJP would have still secured over 20 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena would have been obliterated and left with only a couple of seats.
The BJP realised this fact and hence forged an alliance with the Shiv Sena, as having dissenting SS MPs is way better than having NCP MPs in the Lok Sabha a fact which was proved right during the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Pawar is well aware of the fact that the alliance won’t survive in the electoral field and hence, is looking to uproot Uddhav Thackeray. Pawar by no means will try to uproot the Maha Vikas Aghadi as for him and his party, it is a sort of a harvest season, as the Centre is releasing huge amounts to Maharashtra to battle the virus. Maharashtra being the epicentre of the virus in India will obviously get a lion’s share of the funds released by the Centre and rest assured, Sharad Pawar and his party will leave no stone unturned to make money even if that means to sacrifice Uddhav Thackeray.