The COVID-19 Pandemic is having a devastating impact on the state of Maharashtra, and now it seems that the latest casualty is the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government in the state.
Cracks- deep ones, have already started appearing in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government, and it seems that the unholy alliance could be heading towards an inevitable collapse. The fissures within the alliance are out in the open after Rahul Gandhi’s statement distancing the Congress from the Uddhav Thackeray government.
The Gandhi scion said, “I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra. We are decision-makers in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry. There is a difference between running the government and supporting it.”
The Congress doesn’t want to take the blame for the horrifying Wuhan virus situation in the state, and that is why Rahul Gandhi added, “I said very categorically that Maharashtra is an important state, Mumbai is the financial capital and there is a lot of attention, they have a difficult situation and lots of attention needs to be given to the state by the centre.”
But then it is not Rahul Gandhi alone whose statements manifest a sentiment of division within the coalition. Several Congress and NCP leaders have been making remarks that seem to give ominous signals about the Uddhav Thackeray government’s fate.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who is seen as the one exercising the real power in the coalition while Uddhav Thackeray occupies the CM chair, has been having disagreements with the Shiv Sena.
Maharashtra CM is of the view that lockdown should be extended to contain the virus but Sharad Pawar said that opening the big cities is the need of the hour to protect the economy. Sharad Pawar has tried to side with Modi government on many issues and presented opinions contrary to that of Uddhav Thackeray.
On another key issue- the role of the Railways in transporting migrants, the NCP and Shiv Sena seem to be at loggerheads with each other.
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had accused the Railways of not providing enough special trains for migrants.
The allegation was refuted by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal who tweeted, “Where is the list for 125 trains from Maharashtra? As of 2am, received list of only 46 trains of which 5 are to West Bengal and Odisha which cannot operate due to cyclone Amphan. We are notifying only 41 trains for today despite being prepared for 125 !!!”
Where is the list for 125 trains from Maharashtra? As of 2am, received list of only 46 trains of which 5 are to West Bengal and Odisha which cannot operate due to cyclone Amphan.
We are notifying only 41 trains for today despite being prepared for 125 !!!
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 24, 2020
While Shiv Sena and Congress have taken jibes at the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, senior NCP leader Praful Patel appreciated the Railway Minister.
Patel said that the Indian Railways and Goyal were working under immense pressure, and added, “Their efforts should be respected. We appreciate that they are providing trains so that people can reach home.”
Meanwhile, more and more Congress leaders are making statements that do not go down well for the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government.
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has, in particular, been very vocal in his criticism of the Uddhav Thackeray government. He has made a series of statements that disclose the deep cracks that have emerged within the coalition.
Nirupam said, “Congress has administrative experience, but the Maharashtra government isn’t reaping it’s benefits.”
— News18 India (@News18India) May 26, 2020
He also said, “statement is absolutely correct since there’s no coordination between the 3 parties.”
.@RahulGandhi's statement is absolutely correct since there's no coordination between the 3 parties: @sanjaynirupam, Leader, Congress tells Navika Kumar on @thenewshour. | #RahulDumpsMaharashtra pic.twitter.com/S2sdTGwljp
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) May 26, 2020
Nirupam hasn’t been mincing words and even went on to say, “I don’t think that the Maharashtra government will have a very long life.”
— News18 India (@News18India) May 26, 2020
From his statements it seems as if the fate of the Uddhav Thackeray government has already been sealed and we might be in for a major political development in the state of Maharashtra.
Moreover, senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has also taken digs at the Uddhav Thackeray government.
Recently he had said, “I feel that there was a major shortcoming on the part of the Centre and the state government regarding the way we are treating the migrant workers and not spending money on them. It was our human responsibility to send the migrant workers back to their states and we have failed in it completely.”
The Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government was always vulnerable to an imminent collapse, given its opportunistic character and sharp ideological differences. The COVID-19 Pandemic is too strong a catastrophe, and the state government’s failure to contain it, has split open the unholy alliance.