Maharashtra: Will History Repeat Itself?
To understand the recent political development in Maharashtra, one may need to watch the popular American television series Game of Thrones. Like in this fantasy drama where noble dynasties fight for the throne, including forming alliances, major political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Indian National Congress (INC) – have been fighting to grab power in the state over the last few weeks. This ugly political drama is so baffling that most people will fail to understand the plot. Confusion is bound to happen because all political parties have been trying to hammer an erroneous shaped jigsaw puzzle piece into the wrong spot for many days in the fight power.
The pre-poll alliance of BJP (105 seats) and Shiv Sena (56 seats) comfortably crossed the 145 magic figure in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly but the partnership fell apart as both parties wanted the top post of chief minister. This led to talks of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coming together, an unexpected combination because of big ideological divides between the parties and the tussle they had in the past. But the people of the state woke up on Saturday morning to learn that Devendra Fadnavis had been sworn in as Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister. What happened after that was political mudslinging, confusion and fear of horse trading. But the hysteria over the new government was short-lived as Fadnavis had to resign just after three days. The stunning turn of events in Maharashtra shares an uncanny resemblance to the political situation in Karnataka last year where BS Yeddyurappa had to resign just six days after being sworn in as the chief minister of the state. In both cases, the Supreme Court of India intervened and asked the governors to conduct floor test ahead of the scheduled date, forcing the incumbent CMs to resign due to lack of numbers.
If what has been witnessed in Maharashtra over the last few days is a mockery of democratic norms, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition is also a mockery of the people’s mandate. The people of the state had clearly given the mandate to the BJP and Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance to form the new government until hunger for power spoiled three decades of friendship and the chance to come back to power. While the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have every right to form an alliance, the new-found camaraderie will surely hurt the sentiments of many party workers because so much compromise has to be made in the process. In the long run, it will come back to haunt the political parties for trading power with principles. If the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance is an outcome of political frustration or just to stop BJP from forming the government rather than to provide good governance, what happened to Karnataka in July this year (BJP returned to power and Yeddyurappa became chief minister again) could happen to Mahasrashtra too. History can repeat itself in politics.