A convoluted path to reflect poll results

Weeks of political turmoil in Maharashtra ended on Wednesday night with the Supreme Court declining to stay governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s call for a floor test on Thursday. With 39 of Shiv Sena’s 55 MLAs expressing lack of confidence in the leadership, Uddhav Thackeray had little choice but to resign as chief minister.

Chief mutineer Eknath Shinde took over as CM with BJP’s support on Thursday, making him a cat’s paw and safe front for the party that facilitated his promotion. Political parties are in the business of capturing power — and, hopefully, governing. In parliamentary democracies, they are expected to adhere to a broad set of values, which remains by and large core to their operations.

What Maharashtra demonstrated since the BJP-Shiv Sena won the 2019 assembly elections, and then going on to form a Devendra FadnavisAjit Pawar hybrid government that, in turn, had to resign days before another impending floor test, is that nothing is non-negotiable in the pursuit of power.

This is cynical even by realpolitik standards. Even though the decades-long Sena-BJP alliance contested elections as a unit, giving the impression to the electorate that should the alliance win, they would govern together, Thackeray wanted more: chief ministership. On their part, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress suspended their much-touted ideological considerations and offered the Sena chief the post. Strange bedfellows make for strange optics for the electorate as well as party workers.

Twoand-a-half years later, it took some Sainiks to realise the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) wasn’t much of an aghadi (front) after all. The result: a very convoluted path taken to restore the 2019 assembly polls result. The problem with such hyper-cynical politics is that it undermines democracy, and does so in full public view.

People start losing faith, the vote has little meaning for those voting. The only way out is to give clear mandates, and then hold the politicians’ feet to fire and the politicians themselves to their word.


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