By Tirthankar Mitra
None of the sides who sought the Supreme Court verdict relating to the political upheaval in Maharashtra in June last year were pushed off the ledge by the apex court judgement. The Eknath Shinde government continues albeit with a question mark; Uddhav Thackeray has been provided with a rallying point from which it can resume its fight another day.
But the Supreme Court has drawn several red lines by being scathing on the role of governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari and held his asking Uddhav Thackeray to prove his party’s majority in the House is illegal. Hence forth the principal resident of different Raj Bhavans should keep it mind lest their overzealousness prompt them to exceed their constitutional limitations.
Despite not having faced the floor test and yet tendered his resignation, Thackeray did not find himself restored to the office he held. But he can claim a moral victory notwithstanding the fact that he has lost his party name and symbol to Shinde following a Election Commission ruling in February.
Thackeray retains his boy next door image and Supreme Court has strengthened the sympathy for him. But it is insufficient material for him to counter the political turmoil in the days to come. It is time Shiv Sena emerged as a mature political party. Thackeray needs to gather greater presence of mind than he had at the point he resigned sans a floor test.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) emerges as the biggest winner as it’s chief Sharad Pawar has used Shiv Sena to steal a march on BJP. For he has persuaded Thackeray to stitch together an alliance with him and made him take up the MVA leadership too.
Congress continues to remain the weak link in three party coalition. The ground reality continues to remain unchanged for it. Engineering defections in rival political outfits by BJP will now have to be put on hold. The verdict will be a dampener to a buzz that some NCP legislators are willing to cross over.
As things stand now, the saffron camp finds itself on the backfoot. It’s machinations have come to nought as it has not made any inroads in Sena’s support base not has Shinde’s stature risen. But the apex court judgement does not guarantee the stability of the Shinde government. A tumultuous political struggle lies ahead.
The battle for the political control of the country’s richest state lies ahead. The crucial state Assembly elections are scheduled next year. It was in 2019, when the saffron camp came runners-up to the Pawar-led combine. If the Opposition whose pivot is Pawar’s NCP emerges victorious, the Maratha strongman may very well become the rallying point against the BJP combination in the state.
Come elections, the BJP’s backroom boys may find themselves almost out of work if they feel like trying their old tricks again. They are forewarned by the apex court judgement. The toppling game and similar pursuits are over for BJP. Time for it to go into a brainstorming session to evolve next year’s election campaign plans .Distinct red lines have been drawn by Supreme Court. The political outfits will have to cross them at their own peril. (IPA Service)