To be allies for twenty five years in Politics is a ‘Nirmal Baba’ miracle of “kripa” proportions.So,“breaking up” is not only unthinkable but also spells certain doom. But in Maharashtra, its not doom ,but “Dhoom Macha Le” time as the four principal groups seem to be enjoying their new found status –“Single Again”! But only on the face of it, for there’s more to it than meets the eye!
The Indian National Congress (INC) – Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine had been thrashed in the general elections & Narendra Modi’s ascendancy had thrown up a tremendous opportunity for the BJP-Shiv Sena combine – to assume leadership in the upcoming State elections.
However in a classic example of putting the cart before the ox, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine hurtled towards a shocking & quarrelsome split! Elections were barely announced & the protagonists were already squabbling over installing their own Chief Minister!
Shiv Sena had mentored the BJP in the state & were a larger state party with a broader appeal & thus felt they had rights over not only the larger portion of the electoral cake but also the cherry on top of it. Whereas an ascendant BJP was unwilling to play second fiddle to its longtime ally & also staked claim to greater number of seats than before & also to the Chief Minister’s position. The recent by election results had not gone in favour of the BJP & this too had strengthened the Sena’s case.
Many rounds of tea, bhel puris & bondas & 25 years later the two partners, BJP & Shiv Sena decided to go it alone in the elections.
Certain of losing power in Maharashtra after a 15 year rule.Sharad Pawar, party chief, NCP, was desirous of ditching the sinking INC Titanic to save his outfit.For the INC – NCP grouping there best bet lay in imitating the actions of their rivals & the very first thing they did to follow in their rivals’ shoes was- to part ways – after a 15 year rule during which they presided over Maharashtra’s collective deterioration.
With no coalition in the fray the stage was set for an humdinger of a four cornered contest.And also for some bizarre storytelling..with some modicum of truth as well.
Its rumoured that to better his electoral prospects, Udhav Thackeray,the Shiv Sena Chief sought the blessings of Nirmal Baba.The God man has purportedly advised Udhav to act childish & immature if he wants “kripa” descending on his electoral ambitions. Udhav has since been steadfastly following the advise.
The BJP has been reveling in its single status & is riding high on the popularity of the Prime Minister.Such is their confidence, they have now demanded that the Democrats & the Republicans in the US get into a seat sharing arrangement with them in the upcoming US senate elections.
Raj Thackeray has been having a whale of a time.Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena (MNS) is unlikely to win anything substantial & so he has a lot of time on hand. He has bought the full set of Amar Chitra Katha & Indrajal comics.He is sharing his joy & the plots of the comics with brother Udhav,just as they did in their childhood. And Udhav is then selecting the most bizarre ones & attributing them to the BJP, like it was the BJP that Shivaji fought against in the battle of Singhgarh! Also that BJP was on the side of the Mughals in the Battle of Haldi Ghati & that Afzal Khan, a turncoat Mughal chieftain from the 17th century was responsible for the BJP – Shiv Sena split.
The INC has been busy doing nothing to further its prospects. To rid themselves of the agony of campaigning & losing, Congress leaders have requested Rahul Gandhi (aka-Pappu) to campaign for them. The “Shehzada” obliged & in his first speech forgot the name of the candidates he was endorsing. The audience have not come to know of the candidate thus sealing an emphatic defeat at the hustings!
The NCP for its part is working so discreetly that even its supporters don’t know whether the party is in the fray or not! They are waiting for Ajit Pawar to utter some “utter non sense” so finally the party can have some hope of gaining visibility.!
The Amul Ad/ topical on the Maharashtra Elections has been well timed & conceptualized.It shows two gransdiose looking chairs depicting the chair of the Chief Minister which is being vied for by the political parties.On to the right of the Amul Girls are erstwhile allies Prithvi Raj Chauhan & Ajit Pawar (INC-NCP) & onto her left are Narendra Modi & Udhav Thackeray (BJP-Shiv Sena).Each of the individual is carrying their respective electoral symbol as well.The Amul Girl is seen handing out equal measure of butter from a deliciously golden block of butter and unlike in real life, in the scrip the “allies” seem satisfied with their respective share !!!
The Tag Line….Can’t share seats?Share eats…is taking a swipe at the inability of the political groupings to arrive at a satisfactory seat sharing arrangement. It exhorts the readers to “share eats”, an obvious reference to Amul butter & the numerous dishes this butter supports!
The Punch Line…Allied with Bread..is a take on the fickle mindedness of the political parties to not be allied to their long standing allies. It also stresses upon the loyalty aspect of the butter to the bread & hints at the fact that its consumed best with bread!
These elections are a watershed event in Maharashtra & for the nation. If the BJP forms the government then Modi shall be firmly seated in power. For the Shiv Sena too these are a make or break elections as a defeat will marginalize it further in the state politics. As for the NCP , it can hope to retain some strongholds & luckily is not seen allied to the INC, who in these elections are going to be DECImated!!!
None of the rivals have ruled out coming together after the elections.So..i guess…Picture abhi baki hai mere dost!!!I predict an outright BJP victory.What say?
19 October 14; the results are out & the BJP is the single largest party with 124 seats but short of the 145 majority mark.The gamble has paid for them but the intrigue & suspense persists.
BJPs astonishing win – result of its bold gamble plays out on yet another Amul ad strip.It depicts two caricatures representing Devendra Phadnavis & Pankaja Munde (of the BJP) along with the Amul girl announcing their win with a traditional Marathi trumpet.The CMs chair,finally belonging to the BJP, is shown with a yellow block of butter.
Sweeping winners indeed!!!!
31 October 2014; Much drama has already unfolded in Maharashtra since the last update.Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the first ever BJP government in the State, albeit without the requisite numbers !
The split with the Shiv Sena widened to a seemingly disastrous level. And the scam tainted NCP offered outside support to the BJP led minority government in a display of opportunistic pragmatism and shockingly the BJP accepted it too !
12 November 2014;Much chaos preceded the vote of confidence. Shiv Sena’s brinkmanship cost it heavily and the state level acrimony spilled on to the national stage when Modi inducted Sena dissident Suresh Prabhu as the BJP nominee in his cabinet.
The vote of confidence took place on the anointed hour but was controversially passed by a voice vote rather than a division of votes. The Shiv Sena sat in the opposition and staked claim for the position of the leader of the oppositon. The voice vote was a departure from convention and sullied the BJP government’s image to a great extent. It certainly has not put its best foot forward.A credibility crisis has already gripped the nascent government.
08 December 2014; Good sense prevailed and the BJP and the Shiv Sena have now patched up, albeit on the BJP’s terms, and the Sena has now joined the Maharashtra government.The NCP is out of reckoning for now.And the Congress is no where to be found.Probably the undercurrent of the publics disapproval of the political wranglings and a scary prospect of going to elections again has impelled the principle protagonists to come together.Shiv Sena stood to lose the most especially after being relegated to the second place in the State’s saffron politics.And this development also augurs well for the NDA in the Lok Sabha and more so in the Rajya Sabha where it is in minority.
Hopefully the government will complete its five year term.But be prepared for an even larger round of Mahachaos in 2019, if not earlier !