Shiv Sena believes in tit-for-tat approach | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Shiv Sena believes in tit-for-tat approach

mumbai Updated: Mar 07, 2017 13:46 IST
Sujata Anandan
Mumbai news

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has been besieging chief minister Devendra Fadnavis by raking up the Nandlal committee report on corruption in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation.(HT FILE)

Uddhav Thackeray seems to have perfected the art of having his cake and eating it too.

If one thought he would be faced with the hard choice of opting between backtracking on his words to seek BJP support for the mayoral poll in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or conceding to the Congress demand to pull support from the government for its help in winning that election, neither has happened. Those writing the premature epitaph of his party have to marvel at how he has both got his mayor and kept his ministers in the government.

The backtracking actually seems to have been done entirely by the BJP which was not unaware of the Congress’ condition for its support to the Shiv Sena. BJP leaders had to save their government from any jeopardy but they have tried to extract their pound of flesh. The threat to set up a deputy Lokayukta in the BMC to keep a watch on corruption and ensure transparency in the civic body is actually just a face saver and is not going unchallenged by the Shiv Sena .

In this era of alternative facts, one wonders if the BJP has internalised its own campaign during the civic polls and forgotten that it was an equal partner with the Shiv Sena during the 22 years of its joint rule of the BMC. Now the threat about the deputy Lokayukta and the implied accusation seems to have hurt the Sena but the party is not letting go without a whimper. It is already building up a gradual opposition to the BJP in every civic body where it is of some consequence – and these are many, across zilla parishads, panchayat samitis and municipal councils. A start has already been made with the Nashik Municipal Corporation where , too, it fought a bitter campaign against the BJP and emerged as the second largest party. Here it is doing a tit-for-tat against the BJP which is the first party to gain clear majority in this civic body in 25 years. If the BJP presses for a Lokayukta in the BMC, the Sena is all set to demand one in Nashik too, even if the BJP’s majority makes that rather an empty exercise. Nonetheless, BJP leaders might not be too amused by the demand for it is a district adopted by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for development and is one of the cities chosen for the smart cities project of the Union government. Fadnavis must also persuade many of the fiercely resistant farmers in and around the surrounding environs of Nashik to give up their fertile lands for his pet project, the Samruddhi Expressway, connecting Nagpur to the state capital. Having done pretty well even in the zilla parshads and panchayat samitis of Nashik, the Sena is already beginning to root for the farmers and could end up as grit in the BJP eye for the next few years.

So it is highly unlikely that we will see an end to the sparring and acrimony between the two anytime soon. For this no longer remains just about the BMC. With one minor Sena leader already asking for a deputy Lokayukta to be set up at ‘Varsha’ – the chief minister’s official residence – first, it is obvious which way things are going. It is a fight to the finish and no stone will be left unturned in maligning each other, even if it means personally targeting Narendra Modi as Uddhav has been doing for long or besieging Fadnavis as the Shiv Sena did by raking up the Nandlal committee report on corruption in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation while Fadnavis was the mayor – that was quite an attempt at a tit-for-tat approach for the allegations were similar to the one that the BJP was levelling at the Sena then in the BMC. It angered Fadnavis to no end and he even invoked his family deity , Lord Narasimha, who, he said, was equal to out-clawing the Sena’s tiger! I had never heard such divine retribution being brought down upon the head of a mere political mortal.

But how far can the allies go against each other? Sooner or later they must call a truce. But, in that case, where will the likely trade-offs leave the city and the state, I wonder. Much the worse for the wear as we already are or will this talk of transparency at various civic bodies lead the saffron allies to act as watchdogs against each other and deliver some good administration to the people by default?

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