Gheun talk, deun talk
Sena-BJP talks are akin to the negotiation of an arranged marriage, where both parties, in their quest to have the upper hand, refuse to budge even an inch. This, even as other eligible candidates try to make a match for themselves
Will there be a Karnataka pattern or President's rule in Maharashtra? The possibility looks far-fetched at this point because the 'len-den' (give and take) between the two saffron partners aren't dead yet, but dragging, just like the talks that take place between families of a boy and girl to be wedded in an arranged marriage. In such talks, neither side is willing to step back even an inch. The Sena knows this is the time it can extract as much as possible from the richie-rich BJP family, which is reported to have promised the prospective partner a basketful of dowry to forge the union.
And, when such matrimonial talks derail, usually because of accusations that the respective parents and their eligible wards are adamant, unreasonable and impractical in negotiating the deal, mediators keep the talks alive by passing on messages between the families.
Meanwhile, the uncles and aunties from both sides continue to mount pressure indicating that matchmakers have given them other lucrative options. They discuss rich offers reportedly made by the other families that are scouting for a match for their eligible wards. They even visit such prospective families. But in doing so, the relatives also leave scope to close the gap between the warring yet suitable units, making subtle references to the bond that the families have been sharing thanks to the previous marriages they have arranged between them.
The events that have unfolded since the Assembly poll results on October 24 should be seen as a pre-wedding drama scripted and enacted superbly by some characters from the BJP and Shiv Sena. The main cast from both sides hasn't jumped directly into the drawing-room talks.
And, some outside members have been showing great interest in creating a divorce-like situation without the partners even having taken their vows.
For the Sena, on one side, is the lure of entering into an extended but disintegrated family, which would have too many in-laws laying down the rules, enforcing conditions and harassing it as per their whims.
On the other side, it would face in-laws who it should be deftly dealing with, having experienced shaky but long-lasting marriages in the past. This time around, the marriage could be turbulent, if it takes place at all, but is expected to sustain if the Sena secures more power to run the household. The deal Sena is looking for is the upper hand it has been seeking in the marriage. Sena doesn't want to be a powerless 'ghar jamai' or a 'bechari bahu' anymore.
On the sidelines of the main act being staged by the BJP and Sena, a play-within-the-play is being written in the Congress and NCP camps. Not sure of Sena falling into their matrimonial trap, they have been projecting their groom as a time-tested wrestler. Drenched but not wrenched, this veteran wrestler successfully challenged the might of the BJP-Sena in the electoral rink. Will wedding bells ring for him again? "Not really," said his close aides, adding that the man who put many in political wedlock and held keys to their happy marriages, is happy to wish the newlyweds a good beginning. However, looking at the wrestler's track record, nothing is certain. He is expected to meet his extended family in New Delhi to chart out a future course of action. Even if he isn't there at the mandap, he will ensure that others get married, while the whip remains with him, uncoiled and ready to be unleashed.
The outsiders' role is crucial to the saffron union that should have been made by now. Apparently, it also emerges that the families that have known each other for decades don't want to rely much on the relations their forefathers shared. It seems they have learnt strong lessons from History, which has worsened the trust deficit.
One of them increasingly believes in a contract marriage which provides for suitable cohabitation, failing which, the doors for divorce open up.
But the agreement comes with a catch — because unlike traditional contracts that provide for sharing the property post-separation, this one asks for distributing the property during the continuation of marriage itself. We might have the couple inhabiting Mantralaya only when such a deal is struck.
Dharmendra Jore is political editor, mid-day. He tweets @dharmendrajore
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