Dominated by personalities, political parties face crisis | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Dominated by personalities, political parties face crisis

mumbai Updated: Aug 15, 2012 01:14 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

The untimely death of two-time chief minster Vilasrao Deshmukh raises the issue of a lack of second-rung political leaders in the state, who can replace sitting political giants and lead their parties to victory in the 2014 Assembly elections.

Maharashtra's political scene, which has been dominated by personalities rather than political parties, is in a state of uncertainty, as many political bigwigs are getting older and fighting health problems.

Apart from the Congress, the Shiv Sena faces the worst crisis. Bal Thackeray's health prompted his son Uddhav to take over the party's daily functioning. With the jury still out on his performance, his recent health scare has raised questions about whether he can cope with the demands of state politics. It is believed that Aditya will be groomed for a larger role, but his age - he will be 24 in 2014 - means the party can't rely too much on him for victory.

A leadership crisis is looming in the NCP too. The glue that binds each regional satrap of the NCP is Sharad Pawar. His health issues raise doubts whether he will be able to handle the day-to-day operations in the 2014 polls.

Many expect the mantle to fall on his nephew Ajit Pawar, but a substantial section of the NCP is uneasy with the brash leader. Pawar's daughter, Supriya Sule, is another likely contender.

The Congress, however, is the worst hit. Its most aggressive face, the person had the might to take on its bickering ally, the NCP, is no more. There is no one currently who has the acumen or the clout to tackle the Opposition and the NCP. Its options include CM Prithviraj Chavan, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat and industries minister Narayan Rane, but each of them comes with a problem.