Real reshuffle or cosmetic changes?

The seat of power should not be the prerogative of a few who continue to occupy it for years. But, that’s what happens in our democracy. As the Congress-NCP ruled state is expecting a major reshuffle at the cabinet level and in party organisations, aspirants are yearning to make it, with eyes on the 2014 general polls.

The two-and-half-year-old Democratic Front government in Maharashtra will see some changes mainly due to the performance of Congress and NCP in the recent polls to civic as well as local bodies. Barring a few places, both parties fought these elections separately, allowing their local cadre to take on each other. Now, even if the desired reshuffle happens, this criss-cross will have its impact in the reshuffle exercise as it is being hotly debated that the alliance partners may not fight the next elections jointly.

So, a lot will become apparent through the changes at the party level too, as both state unit chiefs — Manikrao Thakre of Congress and Madhukar Pichad of NCP — are vying for cabinet berths on the basis of their performance. Recently, when Congress decided to back Shiv Sena at Thane Municipal Corporation, Pichad made his opposition known for such an alliance. But his party has taken the same route elsewhere.

Coming back to the cabinet reshuffle, few expect that it will be based on performance as both Congress and NCP apply different yardsticks. Sharad Pawar usually picks up someone purely on merit to expand his party’s base in a particular district. On the other hand, Congressmen say their party high command decides such matters purely on the basis of caste and religion to keep the vote bank intact. Also, a few influential leaders always want to push their sons and daughters to be in power for power’s sake. As a result, it turns into an exercise in futility.  

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