Over the last few days, I have been pained beyond words at the political situation of Maharashtra – the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. As this situation unfolds, I can share my feelings only with those who have as much stake in this … you, the citizens of Maharashtra.
I have seen the functioning of Devendra Fadnavis closely as a member of his task force for the last five years. He was on a passion trip- to make Maharashtra the number 1 state. Every day, from 7 AM in the morning to 3 AM early the next morning, was spent working like a man possessed for the progress and betterment of the state. I remember his 8-year-old daughter writing him a letter saying, “Baba, I need nothing for my birthday, just give me one hour of your time !”
It was all celebration for us when on 24th October results came in as you had given a clear mandate to the Mahayuti comprising of BJP and Shiv Sena. However, the celebration wasn’t to last long as our alliance partners of the last 3 decades had opportunistic ideas. In the post results Press Conference, while we stuck to our pre-poll promise of providing a stable government with the Shiv Sena, they unilaterally declared that they had all options open unless the Chief Minister’s chair was shared with them.
We didn’t give up and would never have given up the opportunity to serve you for another term of 5 years. Our leaders incessantly called up the Sena to the negotiating table but all efforts were futile. Our Hon. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself called Uddhav Thackeray but no calls were answered. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena systematically went on a public humiliation spree with daily Press Conferences, not realising that the insult was actually getting directed towards the people of Maharashtra who voted us to power as an alliance. BJP leaders, on the other hand, were strictly advised to not give tit for tat replies, for it would have been an insult of the public mandate.
You the people have been witness to all this drama as the whole nation looked at Maharashtra, especially Shiv Sena’s antics. While Shiv Sena crawled when asked to bend by the NCP-INC aghadi alliance, they didn’t even consider our respectable solutions. They gave up everything – Hindutva, Marathi manoos and all ideological association even when the Congress didn’t seem to be too keen on an alliance. Forget BJP, they even humiliated the whole legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray who is held in high esteem by us, the Hindutvawaadi BJP leaders.
It was during such a situation that Ajit Pawar, the Gatneta of NCP came to us offering to support the BJP for reasons best known to him and you. It is common knowledge that BJP doesn’t hold Ajit Pawar in high esteem for the numerous corruption cases where his name has come up. However, we still went ahead and accepted the support as the state desperately needed a functioning government and our opinion regarding Ajit Pawar was secondary, compared to the interest of people of Maharashtra.
We overlooked a lot of allegations without compromising our ideals (No CMP, it was our vision he had to support) so that the ordinary citizens don’t have to go through the trouble of re-election. Besides, the burden on state exchequer would have been borne for by the ordinary citizens themselves and not the Shiv Sena which was responsible for this mess.
We are a democracy, a proud one at that, and democracy has rules. Post elections, it’s the number game that has to add up. Ajit Pawar, who by the way had won by the maximum number of votes in Maharashtra was the LOP, had the whip and the support. Now, Devendra Fadnavis had to choose between the opportunity of breaking the deadlock and giving the state a much-needed government on one hand and protecting his hard-earned, clean corruption-free image on the other. Knowing him, I knew he would choose the former. Ajit Pawar backtracked due to family pressures. He may well become the Deputy CM but Maharashtra lost its real Sevak.
As BJP we gave the best shot, tried till the last hour and worked till the last man was standing to support the people’s mandate. We don’t regret doing anything that kept the interest of Maharashtra in mind, even if it meant swallowing bitter pills and allying with NCP which clearly doesn’t share our ideology.
Shiv Sena which had called for removing the word “Secular” from Constitution, signed the CMP with the same in its Preamble. While Devendra Fadnavis was clear whether as a deputy CM or a common citizen, Ajit Pawar would have to face the law and will be convicted if found guilty.
As an outsider to politics, I see it with a different lens. Here an Honest man is always alone and the dishonest always have company. Here a man who has no personal gains, no properties in the posh south Mumbai locality, no mills, no institutions, not even a home of his own in Mumbai, is not what others want. Here it’s not how you perform, here it’s not how you deliver – it’s a Number Game.
Here, too many crooks broiled the plot. Having said that, BJP is still the single largest party & is looking forward to serving the people of Maharashtra as this alliance of convenience falls apart due to their inherent contradictions and ambitions. All we will say is, repeat what our Former Chief Minister has said – Mi Punha Yein (We will be back).
About the Author:
Shweta Shalini is BJP Spokesperson, Advisor to CM of Maharashtra and Executive Director of Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF), an initiative of Govt of Maharashtra.