Ajmal Khan Yousafzai Ajma
Recently staggering news confronted me while I was going through the internet; there I saw news from Maharashtra. In Maharashtra unprecedented maneuver is noted as one extremist ascends to throne while the other descends, yes that’s true, let me go through the whole episode to fill up the gap. In Maharashtra State an alliance formed against BJP, and they became victorious though most of the congress leaders preach secularism but here the world noticed that their secularism made easy way for the Shiv Sena (Monkey god’s Arm) Uddhav Bal Thackerayy who was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra State of India. He and his party were on the front when it comes to Hindutva but shockingly he declared secularism after victory. One could say, that the extremists have learned the political stances where they say one thing and come up with another. I guess, the world has to wait till his real intentions come into light.
Now, how it was possible, will some says that Sharad Pawar, the head of India’s National Congress Party and the strong man of Maharashtra was perhaps the shrewdest fox of Indian politics. It was he who outwitted two of the canniest operators in political business, Narendra Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah. Modi and most of BJP leaders are well known for their extremist ideologies now, this is why most would say that the indian politics is getting messy as one sidelines in Maharashtra the other would continue the extremist preaching. And this game of thrones for Maharashtra has far-reaching implications. The sheer amateurishness of the duo and the state Bharatiya Janata Party is staggering and one needs to ask whether Modi and Shah have been overrated for their ability to outthink the opposition. So the question rises, is Sharad Pawar the ablest and craftiest Prime Minister India never had? What lies ahead? Does the recent churn indicate a major realignment of political forces? Is Shiva Sena, despite its years of ploughing the Hindutva line, going secular; regional parties like the DMK minus the Hindu Rashtra mindset? Or have we witnessed a pure and simple cynical pursuit of power at any cost? Only the naive would hazard a guess yet some broad conclusions can be drawn here.
Notwithstanding the charges of cronyism and corruption that have always plagued him, he is without doubt one of the tallest leaders of the country having held important cabinet-level positions, and being a veteran from Indira Gandhi era. Baramati, in Maharashtra, is his and his family’s fiefdom (the sugar barons of that region) and his skill to prevail over friends and foes alike, and in the latest instance, family, is fascinating.
Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party could do with some hard lessons from Pawar in realpolitik, and in the art of the deal. If Modi and Shah have been outplayed, Sonia and Rahul look even more inept than the duo (the mother and son procrastinated forever before seeing the logic of the fox).
Shiv Sena, on the other hand, under Uddhav Thackeray is a pale shadow of its former self and to have pleaded for support from its former arch enemies, NCP and the Congress rebounds to Pawar’s hold on Maharashtra politics. The recent happenings also reveal the fragilities of the constitution (or at least its gross violation by the duo) and ironically these unsavory developments came on the very day, celebrated as the ‘Constitution Day’ in India.
The swearing in of BJP’s Chief Minister took place at 5.45am and the governor had to be woken up in the early hours while the president actually worked the graveyard shift. He was up from 2am, to start the constitutional paperwork for revoking the President’s rule in the state. Where was the Cabinet and a meeting of this august body to deliberate and endorse the PM’s decision to annul the Presidential rule?
Next, the governor without exercising most elementary form of due diligence virtually obeyed dictates from Delhi.
What the world and particularly Indians witnessed in Maharashtra is a complete mockery of democracy and the constitutional framework bestowed to India. Undoubtedly Indira Gandhi started this slide but the duo has surpassed even Mrs Gandhi. Every organ of Indian State has been corrupted and even the Higher Judiciary (until recently the only body that could lay claim to some independence) has been compromised.What lies ahead? Does the recent churn indicate a major realignment of political forces? Is Shiva Sena, despite its years of ploughing the Hindutva line, going secular; regional parties like the DMK minus the Hindu Rashtra mindset? Or have we witnessed a pure and simple cynical pursuit of power at any cost? Only the naive would hazard a guess yet some broad conclusions can be drawn here.
The Modi-Shah combine’s hold on the Indian nation’s imagination is fading and fading fast. There have been indications earlier as well but the Maharashtra mess has shown the duo to be master bunglers. Ajit Pawar, the nephew of the grand vizier of Maratha politics did a Houdini act and left the BJP Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis mid-stream to drown while he swam back to the shore to be with his uncle.
And in the process, the nine cases of corruption against him were dropped, yes there are plenty more but he has earned a reprieve for the moment. To be incompetent is bad but to be the laughing stock is unpardonable; the duo will pay a heavy price for this and the digital media is full of memes poking fun at the recent happenings.
But on a more serious note, is the country slowly waking up from deep slumber? The economy is approaching a free fall, the Kashmir tangle is nowhere near even an interim solution, the opposition (weak once now vigorous) smell blood and in Sharad Pawar they see a rallying head to beat Modi.Rahul Gandhi and his mother are irrelevant and a new centrist grouping with the Congress as a minor partner is likely to emerge. But that would take sagaciousness and wolf like ferociousness to outflank Modi and Shah. As someone said, a fox is but a wolf that sends flowers and in Pawar, India may have found that rare combination. The nation is uncertain on this political shift while the international community is taking a keen look from a distance, just waiting for the so called secularism drama to end as most of the ruling elite is involved in dirty politics, I guess the Indians are getting used to this new status quo as this is similarly to their 6 plus years of witnessing extremists ruling the country, for the ordinary people this could be rarely considered news but for this minorities this is a disaster and a nightmare. –The writer is a staff member of The Daily Mail.
Ajmal Khan Yousafzai Ajma