looks like the toppling of the BJP govt in MAH is a long standing project of the NCP, ever since fadnavis cut off the fanged heads of the NCP and Congi and decimated their entrenched infrastructure of patronage, loot and power in all the non urban areas.
It looks like UT has been complicit in this little scheme right from the beginning but seems to have wound up woefully short on the testimonials when the proposal was first mooted to him.
now, completely misjudging his own bargaining power, he has waded in like a bull in the china shop and made a right royal dog's breakfast of it.Left in the Lurch | Maharashtra
Left in the Lurch | Maharashtra
Kiran D. Tare
November 15, 2019
In 2016, when Ajit Pawar proposed that Uddhav Thackeray join hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to form an alliance and topple the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena chief developed cold feet. Three years later, it is Thackeray who is reviving the proposal to fulfil his dream of "making a Shiv Sainik chief minister" of India's richest state.
Thackeray decided to ditch the BJP after Fadnavis claimed on October 30 that his party had never discussed rotating the chief ministership for two-and-a-half years each. "For the first time, someone has labelled me a liar," a visibly hurt Thackeray told reporters in Mumbai on November 8, more than two weeks after the Maharashtra assembly verdict threw up no clear winners in the 288-member state assembly.
The BJP won 105 seats, the Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44. Uddhav claimed BJP president Amit Shah had agreed on the power-sharing formula in a closed-door meeting at his residence. "Had they said they would not implement the formula, I would have agreed. Their denying the discussion has upset me, the BJP is a party of liars," Thackeray said. The parting of ways became formal when he pulled out Arvind Sawant, the lone Sena representative in the Union cabinet, on November 11.
Having parted ways with the BJP (which declined to form the government following which Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited Thackeray to stake a claim), the Sena leader has been trying hard to stitch an alliance with the Congress and NCP. In a rare gesture, he went out to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a five-star hotel in Bandra instead of his residence. In another first, he called Congress president Sonia Gandhi and solicited her support in the course of a seven-minute conversation.
The Congress-NCP, however, are in no hurry to back the Sena. They did not release a letter of support within the November 11 deadline the governor had set, resulting in President's rule being declared the next day. To keep Thackeray guessing, Pawar went into a huddle with Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel in Mumbai on November 12 to discuss if they should form a government with the Sena. "There is need for clarity on several points before reaching a decision," Patel told reporters. "We (the Congress-NCP) will have a discussion first and if we decide to form a government with the Sena, we will have further discussions with them (Sena)," said Pawar. "President's rule is applicable for six months. We have enough time for discussions."
The Congress-NCP stand has left Thackeray in the lurch. Anticipating that the Congress-NCP would be equally eager to keep the BJP out of power, he had been expecting a quick response from them. "We will have discussion on the points they want clarity on," Thackeray said, putting a brave face on things on November 12. "I also want clarity on several points from them. We will sit together and draft a common minimum programme."
Political observers believe the Sena's commitment to the Hindutva ideology is what is coming in the way of an alliance, though Patel and Pawar were non-committal when asked about it. A source in the Congress says the party wants the post of assembly speaker as well as 12 portfolios if it joins the government with the NCP and Sena. The NCP, too, wants chief ministership for half the term. The NCP, in fact, will be the biggest gainer if an alliance materialises. It will give Pawar the opportunity to be part of the government and rebuild the party, which is in a shambles. According to a close aide, the Maratha strongman is likely to demand key portfolios such as revenue, rural development, finance and water resources. The Congress, too, will get a new lease of life and a boost in morale. "The experienced NCP and Congress ministers will have the upper hand in the alliance compared to the inexperienced Sena members," says political commentator Hemant Desai.
The fate of several important infrastructure projects such as the Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication Expressway, the Navi Mumbai airport, the Mumbai metro and the Mumbai Coastal Road rests on the shape of the new government. Other projects such as the ambitious Sewri-Nhava Sheva sea link, a Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea, one for Dr B.R. Ambedkar in Dadar, and a water grid in drought-prone Marathwada could well see the BJP government at the Centre denying environmental clearances to a non-BJP government in the state.
There are other twists in the tale. A senior BJP leader says the party has revived its offer to Pawar of accommodating his daughter Supriya Sule in the Union cabinet if the NCP joins the NDA and supports a BJP government in the state from outside, like in 2014. Simultaneously, the BJP has opened back-channel negotiations with the Congress, asking it not to support the Sena. Patel's meeting with Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on November 6, the BJP leader says, was part of this. "I guess they discussed the possibility of political uncertainty in Madhya Pradesh, should the Congress back the Sena," the leader says.
Former Sena CM and now BJP Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane says the Congress-NCP is making a fool out of Thackeray. "My party has given me the task of gathering numbers (145) to form a government in Maharashtra," he said on November 12. "I am on the job and am confident I'll finish it soon."
In all these political machinations, Thackeray could well turn out to be the biggest loser. By approaching the NCP and arch-rival Congress, he has shown that no one is untouchable if it can help the Sena form the government. If he fails to grab the CM's post for the party this time, it could well be the beginning of the end of his leadership.