The Maharashtra government formation has remained sticky with Shiv Sena ditching BJP and trying to form an alliance with ideologically opposed Sharad Pawar led NCP and Sonia Gandhi led Congress. Now, it seems the talks have progressed by as per the media, the word ‘secularism’ is a sticky point in the formation of the alliance.
Several media houses have reported that while Ahmed Patel from Congress and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar remained locked in the room trying to work out the kinks in the alliance armour and decide on a common minimum program, the one issue that stuck out like a sore thumb was the word ‘secular’.
Reportedly, Congress and NCP want the word ‘secular’ to appear prominently in the CMP while Shiv Sena is resisting the move. There is also news that one NCP leader took exception to the term ‘secular’ and said that the CMP should instead say that the alliance will ‘adhere to the preamble of the constitution’.
However, in an interesting turn of events, Sanjay Raut of the erstwhile Hindutva party Shiv Sena has come out swinging batting for the tenets of ‘secularism’.
Assuring that the Maharashtra alliance will be announced soon, on 21st November Sanjay Raut said that the very foundation of India and its Constitution is ‘secularism’.
“The country and its very foundation is based on the word ‘secular’. You don’t ask farmers or jobless or the hungry their castes or religion…All the stakeholders in the country are secular,” said Raut. He was responding to a question about Shiv Sena and its stance on Congress and NCP insisting that the Hindutva agenda is abandoned.
Sanjay Raut did not just stop there. He even invoked Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha warrior to paint him as ‘secular’ while trying to score political points.
He said that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj always took people of all religions and castes together and late Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray had first mooted replacing the Constitution of India with religious texts for the swearing-in before the courts.
It was earlier reported that Shiv Sena had agreed to the Congress and NCP demands of conceding to 5% reservation for Muslims and also on abandoning the Hindutva cause. While the media has reported today that the addition of the word ‘secular’ in the CMP is a point of contention and Shiv Sena refuses to accept, Sanjay Raut’s statements make amply clear that Shiv Sena is now abandoning the Saffron for secular green.