Dilip Walse-Patil, veteran NCP leader and a close aide of Sharad Pawar, has been appointed as the new Home Minister of Maharashtra after the resignation of Anil Deshmukh. Many people see the resignation of Deshmukh as the loss of face for Sharad Pawar who has stood by the former till the last moment. On the contrary, in the entire ‘Vaze-Singh-Deshmukh’ episode, it is Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and his party Shiv Sena who appear to have lost.
If one does cold a political analysis, Pawar has actually lost nothing and came unscathed out of the situation. To argue my aforementioned analysis, I shall remind the readers why NCP made the government in alliance with Shiv Sena and Congress instead of BJP in the first place. Pawar is as much a businessman as a politician, and he thinks in very ‘transactional terms’.
The primary aim of the NCP behind the political power is to earn money for itself and its leaders, and Pawar has always been very clear about that. Had he allied with BJP and formed a government, the 100 crore target that Anil Deshmukh gave to the suspended Mumbai police commissioner Sachin Vaze would have been out of reach because the BJP does not tolerate political corruption.
Moreover, the BJP has people as shrewd and smart as Sharad Pawar himself while Shiv Sena could be fooled easily. Congress has leaders who are as smart as the Pawar family, but they are the third wheeler in the alliance and do not enjoy much say in the government.
Therefore, Sharad Pawar and his party leaders are allegedly reaping most benefits under this government while their accountability is nearly zero. After his minister got exposed in the extortion plan, he brought in another loyalist for the post. Dilip Walse-Patil is among the founding members of NCP and therefore, he would serve the same purpose for Pawar as Anil Deshmukh.
Pawar seemingly has kept the extortion business limited to Mumbai because he knows he has no place in the city’s political space. Despite being one pole of Maharashtra’s politics for more than two decades, NCP has not been able to make a foothold in Mumbai and the city’s politics would continue to be dominated by Shiv Sena, BJP, and Congress in the near future.
NCP uses the city as a milking cow to transfer money from the city to Western Maharashtra and the Marathwada region which are the political strongholds of the party. NCP would never run an extortion racket in Pune because the city and its surrounding areas are its political base.
Therefore, Sharad Pawar loses nothing with the resignation of Deshmukh and the whole Vaze episode. On the other hand, Shiv Sena has been allegedly exposed as a corrupt party and Uddhav Thackeray as a powerless Chief Minister who cannot stop the exploitation of Mumbai. The city has been the power base for the party for five decades but now it will probably be thrown out of BMC next year and out of state in 2024. The real loser of this entire episode seems to be Shiv Sena and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray while Sharad Pawar has come unscathed from the scandals that took place in the last few years.