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The great Maharashtra circus all set to stay in town

Bikram Vohra
Filed on November 27, 2019 | Last updated on November 27, 2019 at 09.44 pm
Devendra Fadnavis.- PTI

The Constitution in this context was mangled and brought to its knees even as the circus stays in town for more than a matinee.

The Fadnavis resignation comes as no surprise following the hugely shabby kidnapping of the democratic process in Maharashtra. That it got curiouser and curiouser as Alice would have said only underscores the misuse of the system. The BJP, instrumental in the indecent haste and clandestine early dawn manner in which the deal was done, learnt no lessons from the Karnataka impasse. In May 2018 the BJP emerged as the single-largest party but  short of a majority. Governor Vajubhai Vala allowed Yediyurappa 15 days to prove his majority. The decision was challenged by the Congress-JD(S) combine in Supreme Court.

That this new bonfire of the political vanities should occur on the eleventh anniversary of the terror attack in Mumbai is a poignant dimension made even more bizarre that it is also the day that for the past four years has been declared Constitution day. The Constitution in this context was mangled and brought to its knees even as the circus stays in town for more than a matinee.

With Fadnavis resigning the feud only escalates. It not only makes the floor test ordered by the Supreme Court redundant but takes the whole fiasco back to Square One. Fadnavis confessing his party does not have the requisite numbers on Tuesday afternoon probably comes in the wake of some desperate shuttling in which the BJP efforts to shore up its numbers by blandishment fell far short of the 145 mark needed. It is true that if the BJP could bribe or cajole the 29 freelancers into joining the flock it would be tantalizingly close to the required figure. But that clearly did not happen.

We have heard of strange bedfellows sharing the same plank out of political expediency but the nexus between the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress promises to 'promote' that phrase to the level of absurdity. This rickety three legged stool has indicated a strength of 162 in the 288 strong Assembly, way above the needed half way watermark. Do the maths and it can be the clumsy first choice for the coalition. The BJP would be well advised to trot back to the sidelines and wait for the three way glue to lose its adhesion within a few months if not weeks. It can then pick up the pieces. The contrast in the three segments would not convince the most gullible of lasting even if greed for power was the sheepdog used to keep the sheep in the pen. On the contrary even selecting the Cabinet would be a nightmare.

The BJP won 105 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly election that it contested with the Shiv Sena, which got 56 seats. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine was a safe bet if it wasn't for the strident clash of egos.

While the most sensible mature political option would be to declare the election void and return to the hustings, the odds are the 162 elected members who segued up to a hotel room to display their solidarity on Monday may get a bite at the cherry. That Maharashtra deserves better goes without saying.

As for Ajit Pawar who orchestrated the whole discordant melody, there is no great surprise in Uncle Sharad Pawar letting him stay in the party despite the transparent rebellion. Better to have him in the tent than outside doing the dirty.

bikram@khaleejtimes.com


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