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Political lessons from Shiv Sena Crisis

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Dr. Vedapratap Vaidik

The collapse of the coalition government in Maharashtra  is almost certain. Even if the incumbent Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray  relinquishes his position in favour of the defiant Eknath Shinde, this coalition government is not likely to survive, because Shinde is  totally opposed to Thackeray’s extra cozy  approach to the two alliance partners, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs allege that Thackeray has, for the sake of being in power, surrendered prominent ministerial portfolios to the Congress and NCP. They also accuse the Chiefminster for not listening to the Sena MLAs or considering their requests. The Sena legislatures complain that they don’t get an opportunity to meet Thackeray and the Chief Minister has become unapproachable even to the elected representatives of the party.  

To whom should the MLAs approach to get the grievances of the electorate redressed? The leaders who have been toiling for the party for years together are also annoyed. They feel the Shiv Sena parted with the Hindu minded BJP for power and Uddhav Thackeray aligned with the Congress against whom Balasaheb Thackeray had formed Shiv Sena. Uddhav is accused of breaking years-old relationship with the BJP just because of his personal rivalry and ego clash.  The rebel leaders allege that Thackeray runs Shiv Sena not like a political party, but like an army. Every Shiv Sainik is compelled to say yes to his commander.  They also say that the party has become a private limited company. Like Uddhav got installed as the party chief by his father Balasaheb, he too is trying to establish his son Aditya in his chair.  A group of party leaders are now up in arms against Udhav’s autocratic behavior and they want him out of power.

Realising that rebel leader Shinde commands support of 2/3 of the party legislatures Thackeray vacated  his official residence “Varsha” and moved back to “Matoshree” — his family home on Wednesday late evening.    Ever since the crisis erupted Thackeray has been giving emotional statements that he is hardly concerned about any chief ministerial chair. Whether in power or not, lakhs of Shiv Sena workers are with us, he said to the public gathered outside “Matoshree”.

 But after the fall of this government, these Shiv Sena workers are likely to be in a dilemma on their future? Will they accept Shinde as their leader or Uddhav Thackeray? It is certain,  Shinde will not prefer to associate with the Congress and Sharad Pawar. The new coalition government is likely to be formed with the BJP. The BJP would happily give him the post of Deputy Chief Minister. To teach Uddhav a lesson BJP may opt for Shinde as the chief minister. This sequence of events in Maharashtra politics is a lesson for our political leaders. First, political parties should never be treated like private limited companies and secondly, the political leaders should not be arrogant and self-centered.

*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.

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