Apprehension has come true. Just within forty eight hours of Supreme Court refusing to pass any interim order on the Maharashtra government’s plea that there should not be any floor test in the Assembly, the BJP leader Devendra Fadavis, tipped to comeback as the person to replace Uddhav Thackeray, called on the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in the night of Tuesday and requested him to ask Uddhav to prove his majority in the Assembly.
Apprehensions were expressed by the political observers that Fadnavis in extreme haste to pull down the Uddhav government and grab the office of the chief minister, would use the time of a fortnight given by the court, would misuse the fortnight reprieve given to the rebel legislators. With a BJP leader Koshyari holding the office of Governor, he was sure that he would get the opportunity. In fact Koshyari promptly responded to Fadnavis request and has directed Uddhav to prove his majority.
Koshyari even ignored the direction of the SC that the government could always approach it in case of any illegality nevertheless it did not spell out that nature of the illegality. The court ought to have issued instructions as to what the rebels could do by July 11, the day the matter would be taken up by the court. Certainly approaching the Governor to convene the house and verify the rebel claim and strength cannot be treated as illegal act.
With Koshyari asking Uddhav to prove his majority on the floor of the house, it is clear in the prevailing political scenario BJP will succeed in its mission to pull down Uddhav from the power. This is nothing else but the brute manifestation of misuse of the state machinery and also hood winking the judiciary. Heaven would not have fallen if the BJP would have waited till July 11. It also makes it explicit that the court must have refrained from giving a fortnight space to the BJP and rebel leaders as it was fraught with the threat of and misuse of the power.
Operation Lotus, the strategy to pull down the Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra was hatched by Modi- Shah duo purely with the vision to revenge the action of Uddhav of refusing to form government in 2019 with the BJP, capture Maharashtra and expand the base of the BJP. Even the arch enemies of Uddhav confess that if the MVA government has been able to complete its tenure, the BJP would have been completely routed from the state. The secular ethos was gradually getting strength, much to the dislike of the RSS and BJP.
The suggestion of the rebel leader that the rebels would not work against Uddhav if he upholds the political line of Hindutva as propounded by the Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb’s Hindutva and joins hands with the BJP is merely a facade. Modi and Shah knew that with NCP and Congress throwing their full weight behind Uddhav it would be a tough proposition for the Hindutva politics to gain back the space once they had in Maharashtra.
At this stage it is worth mentioning that just before his death, Sena patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray while addressing a mammoth meeting at the Shivaji Park had sought a promise from his followers that after his death they would look after his son, Uddhav, and grandson Aaditya. It was an emotional appeal that moved the Marathi Manoos of Maharashtra. Unfortunately the Shiv Sena leaders have preferred to turn their back and enact the role of Ceaser’s wife.
BJP leadership was aware that any move to disrobe Uddhav must have the feeling that this move enjoys the blessings and trust of the legacy of Balasaheb. It was with this in view they put their bet on the best man for the job, Eknath Shinde who has been associated with the Sena from Balasaheb’s time. They harped on returning to the political line and legacy of Balasaheb only to create confusion in the Sena and persuade the legislators to part company. Unfortunately the BJP leaders could not succeed. The legislators shifted their loyalty lured by the offer of crores of money, as is being revealed by the Sena spokesperson, Sanjay Raut, they could force even a horizontal split in the rank and file. They continue to rally behind Uddhav as promised to their mentor and ideological and spiritual leader.
BJP was never in favour of installing Shinde as the chief minister. They would in fact dump him at the earliest moment. BJP would never allow any parallel party which would demolish its Hindutva base to flourish in Maharashtra. A rebel MLA conceded that situation might not have deteriorated to this extent if the ruling Sena leaders would not have spewed vitriol on BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Interestingly even at this stage they blame the party spokesman Sanjay Raut for widening chasm between the two parties.
RSS leaders and Modi were scared of the Maha Vikas Aghadi continuing to rule Maharashtra. It would eventually completely erode the BJP’s base in the state. The BJP design also got exposed in the wake of scheming that took place in the dead of the night under the watchful eyes of Amit Shah. Saamna the Sena mouth organ mentioned; “in the darkness of the night. Uber rich Ekdas (Eknath) Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis (the Leader of the Opposition) met in Vadodara. Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present for the meeting,” it claimed. The Centre also immediately accorded Y-plus security to the rebel MLAs after the meeting. It cannot be denied that Shiv Sena is an ideology and BJP wants to finish it off because it does not want to share the Hindu vote bank with anyone. Of course Bal Thackeray had initiated the alliance with the BJP to avoid a split in Hindutva votes. but the expansionist attitude of the BJP forced it to distance from it.
The rebel MLAs tried to say in Supreme Court that the Bombay High Court will not ensure their safety. But the fact remains that their families are there in Maharashtra. If they really faced any threat they should have stood by their families and must not have left them as the mercy of government. The fact is the BJP is scared of the fact that if the legislators are allowed a free movement they might go back to Uddhav. The formalities of change of the government must be completed before the captive legislators are released. If the rebels are the real Shiv Sainiks and followers of Balasaheb’s ideology then they should have quit as MLAs and face fresh elections. Nevertheless one thing is certain with BJP openly joining the battle and working as the vanguard of the rebel camp, it is certain that Eknath Shinde has lost the race for becoming the chief minister. (IPA Service)