While I am writing this, Eknath Shinde is still in Guwahati, Uddhav Thackeray is still pleading with Shiv Sainiks to remain with his fold, Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders are still meeting with each other, Sanjay Raut is still threatening those MLAs who have defected the party, BJP and Devendra Fadnavis are still silent, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari is still in the hospital suffering from COVID, and most importantly the Maharashtra political crisis is still lingering on.
As we all are aware that such a political crisis, especially when the majority of the MLAs of one party are far away from the actual political center of the state, things will take plenty of time to settle down. So, I got a thought why don’t I look at the scenario about once this political crisis in Maharashtra gets over, who will be the biggest loser after it. So what I have done is that I will start from the party which will be the least affected to the party that will be the most affected after Maharashtra political crisis is all but done with.
So, let me start with Congress first, but before that let me tell you, in my opinion, the BJP and Devendra Fadnavis will be the only gainers after this mess is cleared. We will talk about them in other blogs probably in the future, but today it’s time to talk about losers only.
Indian National Congress
One would definitely agree with me that Congress will be the least affected once this drama is all over. Congress had nothing in its hand after the Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019. It repeated its past performances and yet suddenly it got into the power. Although it took a bit long for Sonia Gandhi to get convinced that her party can ally with the Shiv Sena. So, Congress will lose nothing, but it had enjoyed power at least two and half years. Yes, it will not like getting out of the power after this long, but it has no other option as well. Even Delhi seems not that serious about losing out to Maharashtra at this juncture.
The architect of the coup within Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde may gain a lot but will also lose something. As it looks that he has the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs (may be the MPs as well) and thus he will join hands with the BJP and form the government as late as next month and may also become Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, but he may lose staunch Shiv Sainiks who are right now emotionally with Uddhav Thackeray. Eknath Shinde may have the top brass of his party with him, but at the bottom of the party structure, he will be weak in support. So, the first thing he has to do, after getting into the power, is to strengthen the base of the New Shiv Sena or Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena as per his claims.
Sharad Pawar and NCP
Sharad Pawar played a big role in getting Shiv Sena and Congress along with his party the Nationalist Congress Party and forming the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. Once this government is out Sharad Pawar will not only lose the power handle to run the state government but will also lose or has to delay the hope to make his daughter Supriya Sule the Chief Minister of the state. Again his party has to sit in the opposition and the way things are moving his party may not get even the deputy speaker’s post, forget speaker’s once there is a new government starts working.
Uddhav Thackeray and ‘his’ Shiv Sena
As of now, the picture looks like the Shiv Sena is broken into two parts not at the half but at the 2/3 mark. Three out of four parts of the Shiv Sena are with Eknath Shinde and only one is with Uddhav Thackeray, the son of Balasaheb Thackeray who established the party many decades ago. Uddhav has not only lost 2/3 of his MLAs and probably MPs as well but is on course to lose his Chief Minister’s post and his party presidency as well. He probably has got the success to keep his cadre or in other words Shiv Sainiks with him, but only time will tell whether even this is true or not. Other than this Uddhav Thackeray along with his son Aditya must be feeling lonely right now and even after this crisis gets over. There are chances that once the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is gone, NCP and Congress may also ditch him.
Many BJP supporters and Eknath Shinde’s ‘well-wishers’ are claiming that from establishing a government against the people of Maharashtra’s verdict, and to the split of the Shiv Sena only one person is responsible, and that is Sanjay Raut. Sanjay Raut is not only the senior leader of Shiv Sena but also its spokesperson and a Member of Parliament from Rajya Sabha. There must be a strong feeling among those Shiv Sainiks as well who are with the Eknath Shinde faction that Sanjay Raut is the only person to blame for the huge debacle of Shiv Sena. So, once the Maharashtra political crisis is over with Uddhav Thackeray Sanjay Raut will also be getting lonely for sure, and for that, he has to blame himself. Of course, his political height will also get lower.
Raj Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
I am very surprised that ever since the Maharashtra political crisis has started not a single political analyst on any TV channel has even mentioned Raj Thackeray for once. For me and as far as my knowledge of Indian politics goes, Raj Thackeray will be the biggest loser of all once this mess is cleared. There was a chance, maybe a remote one, that in absence of Shiv Sena, the BJP may look for Raj Thackeray and his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena as their second natural ally. Just a month or so ago, things looked nicely poised to happen like that when Raj started the agitation against allowing azan on microphones across Maharashtra.
But, when the things should get momentum, in came Eknath Shinde, and now with 40 Shiv Sena MLAs with him and maybe 14 out of 18 MPs (as per media claims) are also in his wings, a day will come soon when his faction will be awarded as real Shiv Sena, regardless of Uddhav’ agreement or not. Once that happens The BJP-Shivsena pair will be re-established and Raj Thackeray will be pushed again into the margins. Raj will have to rethink his strategy about either joining the BJP-SS combo or waiting for the right time to make a stage for him to get re-launched in Maharashtra politics.
These are the assumptions I have been thinking about ever since this Maharashtra political crisis has emerged based on whatever politics I have observed over the last three decades if not more. Right now I am waiting for the next few days or weeks to see whether these assumptions of mine are getting into reality or the Maha Politics takes another unthinkable turn.
25th June 2022, Saturday