The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, led by Chairperson Sharad Pawar, is set to complete 1 year in November. In the last 10 months, the tri-party coalition has been completely dominated by the NCP and Congress’ agenda while the poll promises of Shiv Sena were completely cornered.
Uddhav Thackeray is the titular head of the government but the power is being exercised by Ajit Pawar, and he made it very evident in the birthday wish to Thackeray, when he had tweeted a photo in which he was on a driving seat.
The NCP and Congress have ‘secularised’ Shiv Sena in the last 10 months and the party, under the leadership of Uddhav and Aditya Thackeray, has become so secular that it implemented 5 per cent quota to Muslims in the educational institutions and government jobs- as promised by Congress in the Maharashtra assembly election manifesto. The Congress is ensuring that the tri-party government delivers on the poll promises made by the party to its voter base.
Similarly, the NCP is also ensuring its poll promises by reversing the reforms implemented by Fadnavis government in the agriculture sector, cooperating mills as well credit societies– these reforms were hurting the politician-agriculturalist nexus in Maharashtra which Sharad Pawar heads– and quota to Marathas is also being given by the government through ordinance route.
While the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government keeps on delivering one after another poll promise of Congress and NCP, the issues of Shiv Sena are lost. The party won most of the seats from Mumbai and always fought for higher allotment to the city in the state budget, but the allocation to the capital was reduced by Ajit Pawar who heads the finance ministry. Ajit Pawar diverted most of the public funds to Western Maharashtra and Marathwada region, which are strongholds of NCP and Congress respectively.
In 15 years (1999-2014) of Congress-NCP alliance government, Mumbai and Vidarbha region faced severe discrimination in allotment of public funds, which the BJP-Shiv Sena government (2014-2019) tried to address, but, after the tri-party alliance came to power, the situation became the same again, given the fact, Shiv Sena has no say in the Ajit Pawar headed finance ministry.
The most important infrastructure projects in Mumbai like Bullet train project, Metro project, coastal road project, the second sea-link project- all put to a halt or were slowed down in weeks after the MVA government came to power, while the Shiv Sena, which draws most of its voter base and committed cadre from the city, remained silent.
Now, as the Shiv Sena is facing backlash from the people of the country in the Kangana Ranaut office demolition episode, the NCP and Congress are not supporting the erstwhile saffron party. Sharad Pawar has even said, “the BMC has ended giving Kangana “unnecessary publicity.”
The NCP Chief added, “Illegal constructions are not a new thing in Mumbai. But acting upon it at the backdrop of the ongoing controversy gives rise to questions. But BMC has their reasons and rules and they acted as per them.”
The fact that Pawar chose to express his displeasure publicly instead of a private conversation with Uddhav Thackeray and motormouth Sanjay Raut holds significance. The NCP wants to wash its hands off the controversy which has the potential to pull down the alliance. Also, one must not forget here that BMC has Shiv Sena government and NCP is in opposition in the civic body. So, NCP might have allied with Shiv Sena on the state level, it has not given up on ambitions to snatch BMC from the party.
Congress leaders, who are very often vocal on such issues, have also been told to keep their mouth shut on Sushant Singh Rajput and Kangna Ranaut matters.
Previously, Sharad Pawar’s grand-nephew and Ajit Pawar’s son, Parth Pawar had gone against Maharashtra government’s line and publicly demanded a CBI investigation into the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput.
So, it is very much evident that whenever it comes to supporting Shiv Sena or Uddhav Thackeray on sensitive issues, NCP, as well as Congress both, back off. In the MVA government, the Congress, as well as NCP, are delivering on their poll promises and keeping their voter base happy while the Sena is losing Hindutva as well as ‘Marathi manus’ voter base in Mumbai, given the fact, that the party has ‘secularised’ itself and is not delivering anything to Mumbaikars.