The Twist in Maharashtra Elections


It’s astonishing how the voting took place before Maharashtra took to the festivities of Diwali and even a month later there was no face to relate to their electoral representative. It wasn’t until Saturday morning when Devendra Fadnavis became the chief minister, while just the night prior the TV sets said that Uddav Thackeray, the Chief of Shiv Sena was expected to be the next Maharashtra Chief Minister, and Ajit Pawar, the NCP leader and nephew of party chief Sharad Pawar, was to be Deputy Chief Minister.
Although, the latter half turned out to be true; Devendra Fadnavis replaced Uddav Thackeray.

What really happened?

When the results of the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly Election were announced on 24th of October, BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats, while Shiv Sena got 56 seats.

Together, the alliance partners had a majority to form the government. But, the tables turned around. Shiv Sena alleged that the BJP backed out on its promise of a rotational CM i.e. one CM from both their parties for a tenure of 2 and a half years. But, the Saffron Party claimed that no such promise was made.

After seeing no hopes from BJP to accepting Shiv Sena’s demands, they turned to NCP and Congress to form the government.

After a meeting on Wednesday, the Congress and the NCP leaders said they have in-principle agreed to form an alliance in Maharashtra and a give a "stable" State Government.

The one player who changed the game

There are many theories concerning it. One of them is:
‘Ajit Pawar fled with the letter of support.’

"Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his," Sharad Pawar tweeted.

Afterwards, Sharad Pawar held a joint press conference with Uddhav Thackeray where he said there were only "10-11 NCP MLAs" who had accompanied Ajit to the Raj Bhawan, and that they were duped into doing so.

Pawar additionally stated that Ajit may have had gone to the governor with a false list of signatures gathered for registering attendance.

"This is clear disrespect towards the Constitution and the mandate of the people of Maharashtra," Thackeray said on his public statement.

The second theory states that

Earlier this week, two developments took place suddenly - Prime Minister, Narendra Modi praised Sharad Pawar and his party on the occasion of 250th session of the Rajya Sabha. By that time, the news had been "leaked" that Sharad Pawar would be meeting PM Modi "to discuss the issues of farmers".

While Sharad Pawar and Narendra Modi were still in the middle of talks, reports came that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was at the time answering to the questions on internal security in the Rajya Sabha, was called to the prime minister’s chamber. Before long it was seen that the Rajya Sabha was adjourned and Amit Shah headed towards PM Modi’s chamber in the Parliament building. Adjournment of the Rajya Sabha might have been a coincidence or a planned diversion. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was likewise called in during the meeting.

Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah held a separate meeting after the Pawar-Modi meet that day. This had prompted the theory that some agreement might have been discussed between Pawar and Modi. It was also said that the NCP might get something at the Centre in the bargain. Union minister and Maharashtra politician Ramdas Athawale welcomed NCP in the NDA asking its leader to hold an important portfolio in the government.

This Saturday morning coup perfectly fits their(we know whose) style of politics. After all, only a few days ago, Sanjay Raut had said, "It will take ages to have a full measure of Sharad Pawar."

Reactions to the scenario

Sanjay Raut from Shiv Sena, who had been the most vocal on the proposed alliance, said in his statements that Sena’s Chief, Thackeray was in touch with the senior Pawar and that Ajit had backstabbed all of them.

"Ajit Pawar has backstabbed the people of Maharashtra. BJP has once again misused the Governor's Office for power. This is against the credentials of the country's democracy” Raut said.

Evidently, betrayed Supriya Sule, NCP MP and Ajit Pawar's cousin, in her WhatsApp status said the Pawar family and the party had split.

"Who do you trust in life? Never felt so cheated in life. Defended him, loved him. Look what I get in return," she said in another status post, about Ajit Pawar.

Later in the evening, however, Ajit's confidante Dhananjay Munde arrived for an NCP meeting, while at least seven other 'rebels' stated they stood with the senior Pawar and that Ajit had "misled" them.

Which claimed theory holds true? Which are the real faces playing actual politics? Will Maharashtra have to vote all over again? Who is responsible for playing with the electoral politics of Maharashtra?

This electoral coup (the irony itself) poses many questions whose answers can be found only with time, it also creates a situation that no voter in Maharashtra could have ever imagined or be prepared to deal with.

- Written by Dhrumi Salva

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The Twist in Maharashtra Elections The Twist in Maharashtra Elections Reviewed by EMN on November 26, 2019 Rating: 5

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