Ever since Uddhav Thackeray ditched the BJP to join hands with the NCP and Congress in order to concoct an unholy alliance, only to be made Maharashtra CM, it was amply clear that the man was functioning on borrowed time, and that his experiment with the two other parties would come crashing down sooner than later.
It so happens that Uddhav is now facing the challenge of his life. Not only has the man made an absolute mess of Maharashtra when it comes to containing the spread of Coronavirus, but he has also allegedly hired a PR agency called Raindrop Media to strategize and run extravagant PR campaigns for himself and his son, Aaditya Thackeray.
After a month of political drama in Maharashtra last year, Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the CM towards the end on 28th November. He was then required to be elected as either an MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) or an MLC (Member of Legislative Council) within six months. He has not been able to do so till now.
The six month lease given by the Constitution (under Article 164) to Thackeray comes to an end on 28th May. He was expecting to be elected to the legislative council, elections to which had been scheduled for March 26th 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.
As a result, the man is being made to walk on a two-edged sword. On one hand, he and the Sharad Pawar controlled government have no clue as to how the public health crisis in the state is to be handled, and on the other, a cloud of political uncertainty hovers around the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s fortunes.
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 28th.
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.
The politics of Maharashtra will remain uncertain for as long as the Maha Vikas Aghadi continues to govern the state under a dummy CM, while all power lies with Sharad Pawar. The current spell of threat to Uddhav’s chair might just be an opening for the ruling MLA’s to realise that their government is unstable, and may fall any day, leaving them high and dry. As such, them jumping ship to the BJP is a possibility which cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, amid the three parties running from pillar to post to save their government, the people of Maharashtra are suffering. Maharashtra is the worst affected state due to COVID-19. This, because the lockdown is not being enforced stringently by an inefficient administration and government. Uddhav Thackeray has failed at keeping the dreaded disease at bay, and has instead allowed it to proliferate unabated in the state, the worst affected area being Mumbai, the maximum city.
The number of positive cases in the state has climbed up to 1872, out of which over 820 cases belong to Mumbai alone. At a time when doctors and medical staff need to be protected for them to carry out their duties, the Uddhav government has allowed nine major private hospitals to be shut down, since over 99 staffers from these hospitals were tested positive for COVID-19. These hospitals had a cumulative bed capacity of 1700, which can no longer be availed, courtesy the callousness of the government. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
All of Uddhav’s failures to contain the prevailing public health crisis cannot be mentioned in this article. A comprehensive TFIPOST report explains how the man let Maharashtra slip away down the road of catastrophe.
‘Best CM’ Uddhav Thackeray makes another Hubei out of Maharashtra.
The state of Maharashtra has left all other states behind to emerge virtually as the Hubei province of India.#maharashtralockdown #Maharashtra #Uddhav Thackerayhttps://t.co/ZwalTVtpjZ
— tfipost.com (@tfipost) April 7, 2020
Only time will tell whether Uddhav Thackeray continues to remain seated on the chair he compromised his ideology for, or whether Governor Koshiyari shows him the door.