Maharashtra: Big Twist in Tale Creates Ripples in Shiv Sena, BJP Rank and File
Mumbai: In what is being seen as an ‘out of the box’ move, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to give the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s post to Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde.
After using all its machinery to topple the MVA government (though publicly denying any role in it), BJP surprised even its own rank and file to make the Sena rebel the new Chief Minister. The announcement was made by Devendra Fadnavis, who was being considered for the post.
The BJP’s move will have multiple consequences within the saffron party, within Maharashtra politics as well as on national politics, say political observers.
Terming the ongoing political battle as 'ideological', former CM Fadnavis said: "They used to disrespect Savarkar regularly. They were against Hindutva. This is not a battle for power. It is a battle for ideology. So, Eknath Shinde will take oath as Chief Minister."
In a joint press conference with Fadnavis, Shinde thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah for this decision. "Devendra Fadnavis is a big hearted person. Nobody leaves even municipal councillor’s post. Here Fadnavis has sacrificed CM post for Hindutva," said Shinde.
It was a twist in the tale that nobody had expected. Not even people who were part of this entire roller-coaster politics in the last few days. This is not just about toppling one government. It is about bringing a completely a new order in Maharashtra politics, say observers.
Senior journalist Padmabhushan Deshpande believes this move will cut to size Uddhav Thackeray and the possibility of his getting sympathy from the common people will be in question now. "With an emotional speech, Uddhav garnered a lot of sympathy. The Sena cadre was with him totally. But making Eknath Shinde CM will help BJP to confuse Sena cadre," said Deshpande.
This is one of those political moves that has multiple dimensions. It is not just about Shiv Sena. It is in a way cutting Fadnavis to size, too. Many opponents of Fadnavis within BJP are also happy, as they feel that becoming a CM again would have made him the most powerful party leader in Maharashtra.
The other dimension is also about this move putting a check on Maratha politics.
Maharashtra is a state with approximately 30% Maratha population. Fadnavis is a brahmin. So, BJP has avoided a possible brahmin versus Maratha fight, say political observers.
Not just that, political observers also believe that by making Shinde CM, the BJP has sent a message to disgruntled leaders of all Opposition ruled states. This could spread to all those states and help BJP get a share in power directly or indirectly.
How politics in the state moves from here remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, politics in Maharashtra will be one of the most happening events ahead of the next Assembly elections in 2024.
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