Tables turned in Maharashtra

Kashmir Times. Dated: 11/28/2019 10:56:27 AM

BJP gets a dose of its own medicine but the larger lesson is to end this culture of opportunism in politics

In Maharashtra, the BJP has finally got a dose of its own medicine - of letting down allies, poaching legislators and back-stabbing coalition partners. The humiliating manner in which Devendra Fadnavis had to step down when Ajit Pawar went back into the fold of Sharad Pawar led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), smitten by the battery of legislators he had prepared to join hands with Fadnavis is a lesson for BJP. It takes two to tango. The rules of engagement of dirty politicking set by it could be mastered better by others. High on arrogance of power, the BJP first lost its traditional ally Shiv Sena to NCP-Congress. Instead of pandering to the Sena to win back its loyalty, it chose to go through the dark alleys of dirty plot - buying off a sizeable chunk of MLAs to split the NCP. The sleazy and scandalous ingredients of kidnapped legislators, bus rides, hotels and resorts have been thrown-in for dramatic effect. It not only now has egg on its face, it has ended up destroying the so-far clean image of its pointsman in Maharashtra - Devendra Fadnavis. But BJP's far greater worry is that it has learnt the hard way and after paying a price that political chicanery is not its sole prerogative. The short-lived romance with Ajit Pawar, whom the BJP wooed by dropping all corruption charges against him, is back home with a clean chit. It must be a frustrating revelation that others can play the game better. The killer-instinct of the BJP, tried and tested to slay and destroy allies in Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Nagaland, Jharkhand and Goa, has been defanged. The BJP this time is at the receiving end. It is now over to a coalition of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress with Uddhav Thackeray in the lead. But Maharashtra is still far from 'all is well that ends well' happy ending. The ideological differences of the NCP-Congress with the Shiv Sena brace the state for a rocky season ahead. Pawar's political acumen and shrewdness may not be enough to set the boat on a smooth sail.
Overall, the lessons from Maharashtra drama and the way the tables turned are many. A conspicuous one is the manner in which the Governor acted with the President's assent. If Fadnavis never had the numbers, on what basis was he sworn-in as chief minister for a few days? Were the Governor and President misled or did they support the cause of lack of numbers? They need to be held accountable. The crux of the matter, however, is that public is fed up of politics of rank opportunism and deceit. Their patience cannot be taken for granted because in a representative democracy, the representatives elected by the public are accountable to the latter. None of the parties in question appear to be holier than thou. Such politics is neither guided by ideological convictions, nor inspired by the will to work for the public good but simply stems from an unending greed and desire to satisfy petty interests. Democracy is simply not about holding timely elections and formation of governments. Mature democracies need mature politics with all the necessary ingredients of decorum, respectability, credibility and ideological convictions. Unfortunately, in no segment of the recent Maharashtra drama, any of these are visible. The citizenry of this country deserves more than just these action-packed thrillers for politics. It needs good and clean politics now.



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