A photographer takes a selfie

Uddhav Saheb Balasaheb Thackeray, took oath of Maharashtra CM on the 28the of Nov, ’19 heading a coalition of almost equally numbered members of Mr Sharad Pawar’s NCP, and the Congress. Over the next two days, two deputy CM’s of the other two parties were installed. This was much alienated from his earlier condition of making his first -time elected son as the CM, and the regime tenure be split in halves. At least these were the break-away conditions of formation of a government with a pre-poll alliance, that got an absolute majority, in the first instance. One good change is that the present three- party alliance does away with CM-ship of his son, (would be ridiculous in the presence of strongman Pawar) and the tenure shall not be split into three equal or somewhat equal parts.

The oath was taken in the name of the fiery Balasaheb Thackeray, the father, the founder of Shiv Sena, who took up the task or cleansing Mumbai from threats of the underworld, one of the noted ones being “Vardharajan Mudaliar” (Vinod Khanna’s role in Dayavan, Mani Ratnam’s “Nayakan”, Kamal Hasan, in Tamil). Needless to say, “Vardha was a Robinhood in his own right.

The founder, Balasaheb, from an editor of the party magazine, “Saamna”, exercised much influence over the common man, and slowly evolved into a fiery speaker, that became the grass-roots of the thriving Shiv Sena, taking control over much of Mumbai’s Metropolitan Corporation. It could now overtly or covertly hold stake in major state elections, even have units in other states, exerting its presence just for the two or three seats. These are of high value, when a government is short of numbers. 

Much as Balasaheb hitched his wagon to a star one could not have ruled out his ambition of  Maharashtra having a Sena CM, possibly his son. The state always had a Maharatha CM, including two or three of great value in the Central government, starting with Yashwant Rao Chavan, Nehru’s finance minister. If there was a ceremony at Yashwant Rao’s memorial, it was because he could sight the political gamesmanship of a young Mr Sharad Pawar, calling him his “Manas Putra”.

With the Sena coming of reckoning ‘80s onwards, a much younger Uddhavsaheb, and a more dashing nephew, Raj Thackeray became the duo, one of whom would wear the Sena, and with celestial twists, even the next CM of Maharashtra’s crown.

Uddhavsaheb, as is now publicized, was a photography enthusiast, mostly interested in landscape, wild life, forests. He held various exhibitions winning awards, with Raj more instinctive in politics. Obviously, as the drama unfolded, Uddhavsaheb was perhaps taking his time, understanding the nuances of politics, watching from a distance how to graph the political circuit’s Formula 1!

It does need to be stated, that there was a close association between strongman Pawar, and “Matushree”. There may not have been a congruence of ideology, but two high voltage minds, often exchange notes. Adding an element of a fable, did Mr Pawar promise, that given the chances and probability, he shall usher Uddhav to CM-ship! In doing so, did he also see his own gains, despite his established position as a veteran, and initiating the IPL, that pumps enough money to keep the game of cricket alive. Great organizers have their “means”, which is not an arena I know of or shall step into.

When three parties, with unmatching ideologies, support one the equals to be the chief, it becomes clear that perhaps the chair has too many pins, and the crown too many thorns! A promise may have been fulfilled, but a political match has strict penalties for “no balls”. To mention some early trends, there shall be two deputy CMs, so perhaps the “selfie” shall have to be clicked by a long arm, or even from long-leg! Besides, one needs a three-lens camera, so that a 3-D print may be kept as archives. This is true wild-life photography!

As an early trend to note, Finance and Home, go to NCP. Congress can only accept what is commensurate with its present or even historical status. Under the present it shall not settle for a humble pie. There is industry, export, urban development. I would accept my ignorance, in the final distribution, and including the ruling party, there are ministries as, animal husbandry, up-graded rural midwifery, fisheries, forests, disaster control, luxury fishing and sailing!

A disturbing note in Uddhavsaheb’s address was that “there are a lot of settlers who consider Mumbai as a job opportunity, and have no attachment to the place”! Mumbai is the nation’s commercial capital (I suppose we shall not split hairs over “nation” with the “Nationalist” NCP being a part of the coalition). It sounds derogatory to the citizens of the nation, who work hard, and are unprotected from infiltrators. Delhi is considering revamping un-authorised colonies. Understandably though, no-one at the moment can have as much attachment to Mumbai as the CM!

Whichever way you take, a Maratha is respected, like the Rajput, or Sikh, for keeping invaders at bay. Most of the philosophy is homogeneous, attached to Shivaji. Under the Peshwas, they at one time ruled as far as “ Khybar Pakhtoonwa, Peshawar (photographs not available), Bengal”. The new CM may not make such conta-emotional statements, which his opponents may milk to their advantage, and which have vote value!

Incidentally, the ex-CM, Fadnavis is from the lineage of Nana Fadnavis, advisor to the Peshwa in Pune. He is known as the “Maratha Machiavelli”. So, in a way it is all in the family!

Congratulations Uddhavsaheb! Photography should still be your first assistant, and a selfie, once in a while, should help you change expressions as politics demands! 

“Woh aaye bazm mein, itna to Mir ney dekha,
Uskey baad chiraagon mein Roshni na rahi”
— Mir

(They came in the gathering, that much Mir could see,
After that there was no light in the lamps) … the flashlight was used!)

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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