The Maharashtra drama finally seems to be coming to an end with the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP alliance being sworn in today to lead the state. Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena is all set to become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra after ditching its long-time alliance partner, BJP, for the post of CM. The three parties have now come out with the Common Minimum Program (CMP) on how the three parties will run Maharashtra. Interestingly, the CMP vows to uphold ‘secular’ values of the constitution.
The preamble of the CMP asserts that the alliance between Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP will uphold “secular” values of the constitution.
The Preamble of the CMP says that the alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP are committed to upholding the “secular values” of the Constitution. It also says that on contentious issues that affect either the “secular fabric of the nation”, the three parties will take a “joint view” after holding consultations.
It is worthy to remember here that the term “secular” was one of the points holding up the discussions of an alliance between Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. Now that the word “secular” has found its way into the CMP, it appears that Shiv Sena conceded to the NCP, Congress demand in its quest to plant Uddhav Thackeray as the CM in Maharashtra.
Further, the CMP mentions immediate loan waiver to farmers, something that Congress party has not been successful in doing in the states it is currently ruling, namely, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Chhatisgarh.
One of the most contentious promises in the CMP is that the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP have promised to enact a law that ensures 80% reservation in jobs for local and domicile youth. The CMP does not make clear whether this reservation would only be limited to government undertakings or extend even to private entities. Several provisions for women and urban development have also been promised.
Instead of the 300 sq ft tenements being provided currently, the CMP promises to provide 500 sq ft tenements to eligible slum dwellers free of cost.
Interestingly, the Common Minimum Program decided upon by Shiv Sena, in its need to grab power, also promises that the government will adopt “various schemes to eliminate social, educational and economic backwardness of the minority community” and “implement Constitutional safeguards for its security welfare and letter and spirit”. What these schemes or safeguards are to be, is not clarified in the CMP.
One of the only demands of Shiv Sena that seem to have found mention in the CMP is providing food for common people at Rs. 10.
The Shiv Sena which used to be an erstwhile Hindutva party has today become a part of a CMP which essentially furthers socialism and panders to minorities. It has also conceded to be a part of a “secular” government. How the government functions on essential issues of national security remains to be seen.