Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Curious case of BJP in Maharashtra

I have religiously supported Narendra Modi for quite some time now and I think the central government is slowly and steadily working towards changing the way India has been working for decades. The systematic effort to shift the paradigm towards accountability and governance is clearly visible if you can look beyond the highly opinionated and skewed media reports that have become a norm these days. While the fourth pillar of democracy is crying out loud that they are being fair, the three pages of advertisements before the first page of today’s Times of India is evidence enough that it is more of business than journalism. The charisma of the NaMo, the face of BJP, has ensured that the party has been a front-runner in most of the elections after sweeping the elections last year.

Now let us take the case of Maharashtra. Maharashtra politics is probably more tangled than the Indrani case (I could have said ‘why Indrani Killed Sheena’ but I don’t believe in Media trials). BJP riding on the Modi wave, went in to the state elections alone as against partnering with Shiv Sena, their natural ally. I am not sure if it was the pride of the UP win that went into their heads or the unreasonable ambition of a local pot-belly, but, breaking the traditional alliance seemed to be out of greed to repeat 2014. After the post poll fracas that continued for a long time is where BJP lost all its credibility for the Marathi manoos. The talks of partnering with Sharad Pawar, the epitome of shrewd politics, just to be in power and not wilt to the mounting pressure of public sentiment and their natural ally has spoken volumes about the priorities of Maharashtra BJP.

Finally, after a lot of unnecessary arm-twisting, BJP formed an alliance government with Shiv Sena. If this volte-face was not enough, the BJP tried to mimic NaMo style of functioning – authorative and autocratic. The most important thing that lacked here was the vision and ability of the state leadership. Nobody knew Devendra Fadnavis until his name propped up for CM. After the mysteriously timed death of Gopinath Munde, the power centre in Maharashtra shifted to Nagpur. For a person with no known credentials to be handed over the reins of one of the most dynamic states proved to be a political master-stroke.

Maharashtra is now reeling under a number of bans. But that is not of any concern to me. Because the bigger news has been smartly sidelined by the secular media. The Fadnavis government has resorted to tax terrorism, as a short term solution to filling up the drying government coffers. The drought tax is draconian and has to be opposed and defied more than the beef and liquor bans. The unilateral decision making of the BJP led government has had the people as well as the allies fuming.

BJP has lost every bit of sympathy they had garnered in the general elections with its headstrong and cocky politics. Rural Maharashtra - the age-old Congress and NCP bastion – had opened up to the idea of a different leadership. But the government policies devoid of field facts and on-ground experience have ensured that they would never get another chance. The CM taking it on his ego to win the Kalyan-Dombivli elections is proof enough of the lack of vision for the government.

There have been reports of horse-trading where a municipal corporation ward seat has gone for as much a 75 lakh for tickets that are almost sure to be won. The Fadnavis government also tried to get the 27 villages that wanted to be a part of the corporation to break away to form a new corporation because they knew that the Shiv Sena holds sway in these wards.

Looking at the way the Fadnavis govt has performed since their arrival in office, it seems the Maharashtra BJP needs a reality check and a wake-up call. Failure, they say, is the best teacher and being a staunch follower of Narendra Modi, I hope the BJP lose their upper hand in the KDMC elections. Playing second fiddle should remind them that they were chosen as an option to Congress-NCP corruption and not because the BJP had promise. May be then, the government will be knocked back to senses and start working with the people. A government that is at loggerheads with its own people cannot be successful no matter what they do!

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