Maha Vikas Aghadi, an unholy alliance of three parties of diametrically opposite ideologies, formed with the greed of usurping power from one party that was mandated by the voters to rule in the state, is now laying the brickwork for its ultimate demise. Sharad Pawar-led NCP has come up with a clever tactic of deceit, hidden in plain-sight to cut Aaditya Thackeray to size and destroy its alliance partner–the insipid Shiv Sena party.
The mind games within the coalition have been going on ever since it was institutionalized but what NCP is doing now is sure to take it to whole another ‘legion’ level.
Recently, Parth Pawar, son of the Maharashtra deputy chief minister and a senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar stirred the hornet’s nest within the party and the alliance by congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Bhoomipujan ceremony in Ayodhya and welcoming the construction of Ram Mandir. Pawar had tweeted that the Bhoomi pujan of the Ram Mandir will remain etched as the ‘civilizational awakening of Bharat’.
Besides, last month Parth Pawar went against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s avowed stand on Sushant Singh Rajput’s alleged suicide case and asked for a CBI inquiry into the mysterious death of the Dil Bechara actor. Meanwhile, Aaditya Thackeray is himself getting dragged into Sushant’s case, and the Shiv Sena government is in fact busy, allegedly interfering in the investigation and smearing Sushant Singh Rajput and his family.
Parth doesn’t have the brains nor brawn to turn rebellious
However, just like Aaditya Thackeray, the novice Parth Pawar doesn’t have the brains nor brawn to take on the alliance partners by himself and therefore one can’t help but wonder if a game plan is cooking in the backdrop of him congratulating BJP and essentially embracing nationalism.
Given the fact that NCP is one of the most shrewd political party in the Indian political setup and is spearheaded by the wily old fox Sharad Pawar—a statement as rebellious as one made by Parth just doesn’t sit right.
Parth Pawar, just like any other dynast family kid (Read: Aditya Thackeray, Tejashwi Yadav, etc.) is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Parth is being used as a pawn by the NCP to beat Shiv Sena at its own game and he is doing it all at the behest of his father Ajit Pawar who has the unflinching backing of Sharad Pawar.
The ‘secular’ Shiv Sena and its eroding vote bank
Shiv Sena, often synonymously associated with Hindu Hriday Samrat Bala Saheb Thackeray for the major part of its existence has been closely interconnected with the Hindutva movement and politics.
But in the last two years and especially after the Maharashtra assembly elections, Shiv Sena headed by Uddhav Thackeray has blanketed itself with the pseudo scarf of secularism like the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and Congress. The party once willing to keep everything on the line if asked to compromise with its political ideology has seen a hara-kiri shift in its policies as it charts downs a territory which clearly isn’t its turf.
As a direct result, the voters of Shiv Sena are perplexed that a party that used to champion the cause of Hindus has become a vestige of what it used to stand for.
Unlike Parth Pawar, Shiva Sena remained uncharacteristically mum on the entire issue of Ram Mandir and Bhoomipujan and only came out on the day of Puja to scrape and gobble some of the credit. The voters are still trying to figure out if this is the same Sena that they voted for one and a half years back.
The vacuum created by Sena in the Hindu ideology perception battle is being filled by NCP. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP doesn’t have a rosy past as its connection to the underworld, Dawood, bomb blasts and the drug cartels have long been brought into the light.
But with an eye on Shiv Sena’s traditional Hindu vote bank, NCP is trying to turn the corner and break the wheel. Expect more such statements from Parth and other NCP leaders in the future.
As already seen, the other MVA alliance partner Congress by now has turned to Shree Ram to erode Shiv Sena’s vote bank. Apart from the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, the Gandhi siblings, both Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi were in complete awe of Shree Ram when they tweeted honey-dripped statements evoking Lord Ram and his greatness.
And if Congress, a party, which in the past has unabashedly questioned the existence of Bhagwan Ram and hurt Hindu sentiments on numerous occasions can come out and pray in front of Ram to woo his vote banks, then, what is stopping NCP to tread down that same path.
The old workhorse Sharad Pawar has assessed these permutations and combinations and come up with this placebo medicine which he will continue to administer to Shiv Sena for the remaining part of the 5-year term, if the alliance lasts that long.
Sharad Pawar-led NCP is laying the groundwork for the next assembly elections. Complacent that its vote bank will not slip, Congress and NCP under Sena’s nose have started tip-toeing around with a narrative that is going to hurt Sena in the long run. The sucker punch will not be landed well until the Assembly Polls and if the father-son duo of Uddhav and Aaditya still remain oblivious to this threat then Sena is expected to face some form of existential threat.