Following the explosive allegations made by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh against Anil Deshmukh – senior NCP leader, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has been on a weak wicket. Allegations of no less than the home minister directing police officials in the state to gather a monthly sum of Rs. 100 crores have exposed the MVA government as one which survives on ‘hafta vasooli’ and extortion. On Monday, following the Bombay High Court ordering a CBI probe into the entire fiasco, Anil Deshmukh tendered his resignation from the state cabinet on ‘moral grounds’.
The High Court ordering a CBI probe into the case and Anil Deshmukh subsequently resigning from his post are being seen as a huge victory by the BJP. And why wouldn’t the BJP celebrate the same? Ever since the scandal first broke out, beginning with the Antlia bomb scare and the alleged murder of Mansukh Hiren, the Maharashtra state unit of the BJP has been mounting an aggressive campaign against the MVA government, particularly chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The unprecedented offensive against the corrupt and inept government is being led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The BJP has left no stone unturned to corner the MVA government and the Thackerays. According to the Free Press Journal, during and after the budget session, the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis led a scathing attack against the state government and Deshmukh in particular. Ironically, Deshmukh and the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners were literally fumbled to counter Fadnavis’ blistering attack due to a lack of proper coordination and preparations.
The BJP has not shied away from holding state-wide protests against the MVA government and has also been regularly holding press conferences and media briefings to bring out secret details regarding the alleged extortion racket and corruption of the MVA government into the public domain. BJP had particularly been gunning for Anil Deshmukh and had incredibly cornered the state government by relentlessly attacking it for shielding the alleged tainted home minister. The Shiv Sena-led MVA government was practically left devoid of all defences due to the BJP’s offensive.
The only defence that the state government could muster to put forward was that the BJP, with the help of alleged ‘insiders’ in the police department and state bureaucracy, was getting hold of secret documents incriminating the MVA alliance partners. Not many have been buying such defences. When it comes to factually countering the BJP, the MVA constituents conveniently retire into silence, only further exposing their culpability.
Over time, the Fadnavis-led state machinery of the BJP has made life hell for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The MVA has started playing into the BJP’s narrative, and the resignation of Anil Deshmukh proves that the saffron party remains a formidable force in the state of Maharashtra while being in the opposition too.