Last night when we slept, we knew Uddhav Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, will become the first Thackeray chief minister of Maharashtra, despite never having contested mainstream elections. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut woke up this morning and dished out a couplet as he has been since his little health scare where he lodged himself in a hospital as Maharashtra government formation discussions reached a new abyss.
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) November 23, 2019
At 7 AM, all confident of having his bossman Uddhav Thackeray as Maharashtra Chief Minister and having the satisfaction of fulfilling his promise of ‘Shiv Sena CM’, Raut tweeted how history has been written by the one on whom the world laughs at.
It was perhaps a dig at himself because he was mocked at for his tall claims like how Shiv Sena has backing of 170 MLAs to form the government. Raut thought he is finally victorious as Maharashtra will see a Shiv Sena CM with Uddhav forming the government.
Except, when we woke up, before anyone could figure out what is happening, Devendra Fadnavis swore in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. NCP’s Ajit Pawar had sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister. NCP and BJP forged an alliance overnight even as Shiv Sena kept dreaming of Uddhav as Chief Minister. Takes one back to 2014 Maharashtra elections when BJP had emerged as the single largest party but was short of clear majority. NCP’s Sharad Pawar had offered to provide outside support to the BJP to form the minority government.
In 2014 the BJP, riding on the popularity of PM Narendra Modi, emerged as the single-largest party with 122 seats but was still slightly behind the 145-mark required for staking a claim at the government. Shiv Sena, being its usual self, with 63 seats was holding the BJP to ransom that time also, trying to broker a “respectable deal” before extending its support. The NCP had then won on 41 seats while the Congress emerged victorious on 42 seats. Back in 2014, the BJP and Shiv Sena had not forged a pre-poll alliance. Shiv Sena had tried power game even back then to cut a better deal for itself.
With the coalition between the two parties uncertain, the NCP chief Sharad Pawar then declared that he would provide an outside support to the 122-member BJP and abstain from future trust vote in the Assembly. The BJP had then claimed to have the support of 10 independent MLAs. NCP MLAs abstaining from the assembly would have brought the count down from 288 to 247 and the BJP would have had the necessary numbers to form a minority government.
Pawar had reasoned that to avoid the need to have fresh elections, he and his party took a “conscious and collective decision” of supporting the minority government of the BJP. However, he ensured that the party would play the role of an effective opposition.
The NCP’s offer was regarded as “mega-clout” for the BJP to negotiate the modalities of an alliance with the Shiv Sena which was under tremendous pressure realising its rapidly shrinking leverage over the BJP. Amit Shah too did not turn down NCP’s offer stating that the party’s parliamentary board, PM Modi would discuss the options. Finally, the uncertainty ended with the Shiv Sena and the BJP coming together to form an alliance and stake a claim at the government.
This time, stretching his luck too far, Shiv Sena tried to play bigger games. They insisted on a 50-50 formula where Shiv Sena and BJP will have chief minister for 2.5 years each. Raut kept claiming how it was a pre-poll condition for alliance and accused BJP of not keeping its part of the bargain. The BJP maintained there was no such formula.
The BJP later said that it does not have enough numbers to form government and the Maharashtra Governor invited second largest party Shiv Sena to form government. Despite Raut’s 170 MLAs supporting Shiv Sena claims, the party could not stake claim to form government as neither NCP nor Congress sent letter of support to the party. Later NCP was invited to form government. Since even NCP did not have requisite numbers, the President’s rule was imposed. The President’s rule ended at 5:47 AM today and by 8 AM, Fadnavis swore in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
This morning Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut was ecstatic that he is about to create history by getting a first Thackeray Chief Minister. However, as the day progresses, it is getting clearer that more than creating history, Shiv Sena is on the path of becoming history.
Editorial team of OpIndia.com