If one is not Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane or Ganesh Naik, the imprint of the Shiv Sena is hard to shake off, whether the Sainik sticks to the party or quits. Raising a mutiny in the Thackeray house has, until now, been a ticket out of politics.
Which brings one to Manohar Joshi. The man survived within party ranks for long, hard years despite many adversaries, and enjoyed Bal Thackeray’s confidence. But his fall from grace was overnight. The future is blurry for the former mayor and chief minister, with Uddhav apparently in no mood for reconciliation.
For now, Joshi can’t do much but wait and watch. He can’t afford to needle Thackeray Jr, having already questioned his capability to lead the party. As a matter of fact, Joshi, being more of an entrepreneur than a politician may not find it palatable to jeopardise his business interests.
His digressing to another party is a remote possibility. Who wants a politician with no committed vote bank under his belt, or a cadre that could prove helpful in lending muscle? Although he is on amicable terms with Raj Thackeray, he may not be welcome in the MNS, as the party is unlikely to antagonise Shiv Sena in the face of the approaching Lok Sabha elections. Joshi has a good friend in Sharad Pawar, but his joining the NCP is also improbable.
Pushing 77, Joshi is ill-fitted to get a grip on present-day political churn. Having burnished his credentials as a staunch Bal Thackeray supporter, who offered him a bunch of key posts while ignoring strong contenders within the organisation, Joshi’s best bet is to lay low and extract as much sympathy from his party men as he can.