From Roar to … Purr
Columns, In Black & White

From Roar to … Purr

November 23, 2019

This morning the BJP pulled off a coup in Maharashtra. Many who watched the news on TV this morning were left wondering if it was fake news. The headlines read “BJP-NCP form Government in Maharashtra.” Even more shocking, they had already sworn-in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister (CM) and Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister (Dy.CM) ! So unbelievable was this news that even the Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi tweeted saying, “Thought it was fake news. #pawarji tussi grt ho! Amazing if true, still not sure.”

Yes, Indian politics with its unthinkable permutations, combinations and twists can be embarrassing for a democracy.

Now, speaking of embarrassment, the most embarrassed person today in the nation has to be the Chief of NCP’s Mumbai unit, Nawab Malik.

Exactly a week ago, Malik had mocked Amit Shah in a tweet saying, “At last, the so-called Chanakya of Indian politics has been defeated by Sharad Pawar sahab.”  Guess it is time to delete that tweet now Malik sahab, because Amit Shah has had the last laugh. Even more embarrassing is the fact that it was Malik’s own party that brought BJP to power.

Now, the NCP claims it was Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar, who betrayed his uncle and poached 29 MLAs in order to support BJP. If anyone knows Sharad Pawar, who is a master weaver of Chakravyuhas, this “Pawar betrays Pawar for Power” story just might be an eyewash. Because, while BJP wants to be in Power, the Pawar family wants to stay out of Jail. They have enough cases against them ranging from irrigation scam to Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scam.

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We remember when Sharad Pawar received an Enforcement Directorate (ED) notice relating to the Maharashtra Co-operative Bank scam, he went to its office the very next day even though it was not a summons. When asked why he did this, he said as a Maratha he would not bow to the ‘Tanashahi’ (autocracy) of Delhi. 

Well, now the NCP may not have bowed to ‘Tanashahi’ of Delhi, but after what has happened to former Union Minister P. Chidambaram, we guess they don’t mind being                       cajoled by Delhi.

And cajoled how? On Monday, Prime Minister Modi praises Sharad Pawar in the Parliament, and for what? For showing discipline during Parliamentary proceedings! Then a day later, on Wednesday, Pawar and the Prime Minister meet, oh no! Not to discuss politics, but to ostensibly discuss “farmer distress” in Maharashtra. Two days later, BJP forms a Government in Maharashtra.                   Wah! Bhai Wah!

It is indeed intriguing that BJP has made Ajit Pawar the Dy.CM, a man who, according to the Anti Corruption Bureau, is involved in the Rs.70,000 crore irrigation scam. A man who once mocked a farmer complaining about lack of water saying, “Do you want me to piss and fill                                                    your dam?”

It makes us wonder if the meeting to discuss “farmer distress” was about how to get water out of Ajit Pawar, or how to get Ajit Pawar out of hot water.

Unholy alliances are part of the Indian political landscape for a long time now. Many may remember how the Shiv Sena, who just a few days ago reminded the BJP that they supported Hinduvtava before BJP was born, joined hands with the Muslim League in the Mumbai Mayoral elections in the 1970s.  More recently we have the example of BJP-PDP alliance in Kashmir. Power is the end game, means don’t matter.

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Now, where does this leave the Tiger of Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena? Well, for now, the tiger of Maharashtra which was roaring till last night is left meowing like an injured pussy cat.

Just last night, Shiv Sena leaders claimed in grand fashion that Sena is full of firsts this year — First time a Thackeray family member, Adithya Thackeray had stood for election. And soon in a first, another Thackeray,  Uddhav Thackeray would be sworn-in as Chief Minister. It was said that unlike earlier, the Thackerays will not be ‘remote control’ but in actual control. But alas. 

As of this morning, the roar of the tiger has mellowed to a meow as the Shiv Sena has been cut to size. Cut to size by their own leaders’ arrogance, fickleness and lack of political prudence. All terrible political traits to have when you have a political fox like Pawar in your backyard.

In short, the fox has outwitted the tiger. And in doing so, it has not only brought life back to the party but kept Sena out of power and their own leaders out of Jail.

While BJP comes back to power in Maharashtra, one has to wonder how it will affect the by-elections in Karnataka. Is Kumaranna                   hoping for a Christmas gift if BJP falls short?

For now, Sharad Pawar, taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kedarnath visit after the Lok Sabha elections had said, “I have never seen that after elections, those who shoulder the country’s responsibility leave Delhi and go to the Himalayas” and added saying “There is ‘nautanki’ in politics also.” Guess he or his nephew has proved it true.

But if anyone thinks the drama in Maharashtra is over after last night’s midnight masala and this morning’s climax, all that one can say is…Picture Abhi Baki Hai. Part 2 — Supreme Court and                                                           anti-defection drama.

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ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “From Roar to … Purr”

  1. The Maharashtra googly has thwarted the self proclaimed Mahavikas aghadi from capturing power. Of course Sharad Pawar says Ajit’s decision is a rabbit out of the hat and not NCP decision in a reaction reminding us of HD.Kumaraswamy’s decision to align with the BJP to throw Congress out of power in Karnataka years ago which was similarly disowned by his father and former Prime minister H.D.Devegowda.
    Other Nationalist Congress Party leaders — Chhagan Bhujbal, Nawab Malik, Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awahad — said they had no idea of what was to come. Praful Patel said Sharad Pawar had nothing to do with it, a stand which both the Congress and the Shiv Sena are firmly refusing to accept especially at a time when their hopes of catapulting to power have evaporated fast.
    Sharad Pawar says his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had no hand in his nephew Ajit’s astounding decision to join a BJP-led government.
    Ajit Pawar himself said he reached the decision on his own.
    That image of the overnight turning the tables by the BJP appears to have left the political establishment just as shellshocked — came very much against the run of play: for days now, the NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena have been working on a prospective alliance, irrespective of their differing ideologies.

    As recently as Friday evening, Sharad Pawar said the new alliance wanted Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray to be its chief minister.

    Well, it looks like the Shiv Sena can forget about that for now.

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