Chaos is a ladder, the climb is all there is
The pandemic is growing, so is the game of thrones, as parties in the Maharashtra government spar among themselves, while the opposition waits for the right opportunity to strike
The ever-growing pandemic has given Maharashtra's politicians and bureaucrats vast grounds to disagree with each other on, disown their failures and find scapegoats. Things don't seem to be moving in one direction with so many power centres working simultaneously and with zero coordination.
The constituents of the three-party government are content to bicker over matters that demand urgent resolution, which may not be perfect but can at least bail out the government and citizens, instead of complicating matters further. It has become more of a situation wherein some powerful people appear to be attempting backseat driving and claiming credit when their manoeuvres succeed. Needless to say failures are disowned and the blame is shifted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, simply because he heads the government and is assumed to have approved of such 'failed' decisions. The scenario has become fodder for the Bharatiya Janata Party which says that the MVA partners are hell bent on seeing Thackeray fail, and if things go on like this, then, the government will fall without them doing anything to reclaim the lost throne.
Disagreements in MVA
There have been several instances, particularly in the past one month of Mission Begin Again that revealed disagreements within the Maha Vikas Aghadi partners – the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. The Congress wants a firm say in policy making and a fair share in positions of power like MLC appointments. It wants something Congress-like to be done by the Sena-led government. On the other hand, the NCP wants Thackeray to depend on the party boss Sharad Pawar's spoon-feeding, which the Congress is dead set against. Some Congress leaders like Prithviraj Chavan, who are sworn political opponents of Pawar, have said the CM should be allowed to run the government the way he wants and some leaders should stop backseat driving. The Congress got its moments of joy when the CM framed the pandemic measures in consultation with his own team. But when these decisions evoked adverse reactions from the people in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the NCP lapped it up to get Pawar to influence the CM, while the Congress also lodged its protest against unpopular measures.
But, the Congress was left sulking again because the NCP has created yet another scenario of the CM acting promptly on the suggestions supposedly made by Pawar. The cap of 2km periphery for public movement in Mumbai was relaxed and the CM is said to have agreed to pay heed to the sentiments of public representatives rather than finding aid from his loyal bureaucrats everytime he finds himself in a fix.
But as they say Thackeray can be as unpredictable and harsh as Mumbai's rains. The CM did not waste an opportunity to prove his authority and settle scores with NCP. On Sunday, Thackeray is reported to have scrapped the Mumbai Police's orders that had reshuffled about a dozen deputy commissioners just two days ago. It is said that the NCP was upset because the home minister was unaware of the 2km periphery rule for Mumbai that the CM had demanded. Now it has appeared that the CM wasn't consulted before making changes to the city police set-up. Thackeray may face criticism from the opposition for this roll-back, but he has taken the risk in order to stamp his authority where it matters most.
BJP plays waiting game
The fourth political force, the BJP, which is accused of consistently plotting the fall of the MVA government, has been using the pandemic to showcase cracks within the tripartite formation. It has gone soft on Thackeray, making the NCP and Congress responsible for showing the CM in bad light. The BJP harps on a statement that it doesn't need to pull the rug from under the MVA's feet because the formation will perish due to internal squabbles.
The BJP may not confirm the deadline of MVA's downfall, but Sena's editor-MP Sanjay Raut wrote in the party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday that the BJP might be hoping the government will go by October this year. He also said that the BJP was daydreaming and at most its Delhi bosses could create an emergency-like situation by delaying the appointment of 12 MLCs under the governor's quota. Whatever it is, the government will not fall, Raut insisted.
All eyes on October
Whether winter is coming or not, the situation compels us to quote Lord Baelish (Littlefinger) of a popular TV series 'Game of Thrones', "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again — the fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love ... illusions. Only the ladder is real, the climb is all there is."
Come October, we will be watching.
Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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