Maharashtra: Where everyone lost

Hundreds of hours of airtime have been spent and hundreds of pages written since the Maharashtra election results came out and a new drama unfolded each day – and currently each hour perhaps. There is, as usual, apparent competition to grab the incident ‘First’ and even then quite strangely no media could follow the Great Friday Night events. Now there are explanations, interpretations, expectations and apprehensions about each thing and everything.

But we are a unique country and many times our behavior has been beyond any studied pattern and it often demands new study and new theory. We tend to set new pattern too often.

Our democracy, though maturing day by day in many aspects, has decayed in too many aspects and, quite unfortunately, we tend to accept them as rules of the games. We have, of late, stopped questioning the ‘Equity’ of the given issue. 

Frank Sonnenberg said, “Many ‘battles’ do not have winners and losers – there are just losers”. And here in Maharashtra everyone lost the battle – whosoever forms the government eventually. All the parties have lost, all the leaders have lost and above all Maharashtra and its people have been made to lose, though everything is being done in the name of people and more painfully in the name of farmers who suffer and suffer and suffer!

In many states, many combinations happened and the ruling party is, as usual, and as always, accused of maneuvering, rather manipulating the situation in its favour to form its govt. But those are quite different stories. Maharashtra story is about the stubbornness of Shiv Sena of sharing the positions at 50:50 including Chief Minister though its numerical strength remained at nearly half of the BJP (56:105). Notwithstanding the commitments made during seat-sharing before the elections, equitably the proportionate representation must have been the only criteria. 

But No! We already have had too many Chief Ministers from parties having too lesser numbers than Shiv Sena too. Given that argument Shiv Sena could not be accused of demanding too much – it thought it could dictate the terms! But it perhaps forgot, it was not Balasaheb’s Sena – who always, dared to speak on behalf of the entire Marathi Manoos and was accepted truly so too. Had he been there and had he wanted so, he would have roared it rather too loudly before the elections and have set the tone before the people decisively! He would have also not let BJP forget that it was Sena which handheld BJP like a kid and let it grow. Here, throughout elections Sena remained mum while BJP always went on projecting the alliance Chief Minister as Devendra Fadnavis. So that was either the tactical blunder of Sena or an afterthought to push its things arbitrarily. Matoshree, which really used to be ‘a temple’ as it was termed by Sanjay Raut, where everyone who mattered felt proud visiting, saw Uddhav ji coming out and meeting people who would not have otherwise been even allowed in. And there, Sena lost heavily even after winning in alliance and even if it could have the Chief Minister chair!

BJP too wisely and prudently declined to form the government realizing and telling it had no numbers. It had too much time to maneuver or manipulate but it did not or could not. That appeared a noble game. Devendra Fadnavis has, during his tenure, emerged as ‘Lambi Race ka Ghoda’ and this gave him further edge. Had he taken Ajit Pawar on board then and formed the government – he would have added a feather of being seen as a politician. But he let the train go quite gracefully but much later at a lonely place got the chain pulled, stopped the train and rode it! Getting the chain pulled and train stopped when guard, driver and station managers are his men, was neither nice nor brave. Now, whether he survives or forced to go – he has lost, even after winning, as a growing Leader of the state!  

And the BJP was, after all, ruling the state by President Rule too. There was no need whatsoever to form the government in the manner it did. It had a thousand reasons to dissolve the assembly go for fresh elections, where it must have won playing a victim card and would have formed its own government. But it failed to take risks and believe in itself. Now if its government survives, it would be seen to surrendering to people it had accused of serious corruption charges and if it loses, it would have irreparable embarrassment. So the BJP too has lost even as it won prestigiously!

NCP’s Sharad Chandra Pawar ji is one of the very few distinguished politicians in the country as on the date who can vouch of his following and clout among his people. In 2014, he offered support to BJP suo moto which eventually compelled Sena to come around and join the government or else it would miss the train. But sea levels of Mumbai has come up too much since then. BJP went on enrolling his people thinking to disarm him. But the true leader that he is – he came up more vigorously. Too gracefully he asserted that his mandate was to sit in opposition and his party would do so. But later he saw no harm in sharing power with his arch rivals and the events that followed made him wear too many unwanted adjectives. Even if now he shares power with whosoever, he and NCP did lose even after such a glorious win!

And the Congress – which got too many seats unexpectedly even if it was seen napping – without much of campaign by national leaders and with divided house, was being seen at least a hope in the state. It would have gained a lot had it gracefully sat in opposition, but it chose to meddle in power grabbing exercise and thus it too lost the gained ground, even if it succeeds in share the flesh!

So unfortunate a month for the great state of saints and reformers, when everyone is feeling proud in losing and all that in the name of Farmers! Will we be able to regain the losses we made?

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

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