Shailesh Gaikwad

Shailesh Gaikwad is senior associate editor, Hindustan Times. He heads the political bureau in HT’s Mumbai edition. In his career of over 18 years, he has covered Maharashtra politics, state government and urban governance issues.

Articles by Shailesh Gaikwad

“I am not against Marathas but the rule of mob is not acceptable in the state”

Bhujbal, a battle-scarred veteran, says he will continue his opposition to the fine-slicing of the OBC reservation even if it means risking his ministerial berth

Mumbai, India - Nov. 24, 2023: Chhagan Bhujbal Member of the Maharashtra Assembly pose for the photos during interview in Mumbai, India, on Friday, November 24, 2023. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 25, 2023 08:32 AM IST

Shinde-Ajit cold war

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar's meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi has highlighted the ongoing power struggle between him and CM Eknath Shinde in the ruling alliance. Pawar is reportedly unhappy with Shinde's handling of things and has expressed his dissatisfaction to the BJP. The tension between the two has also been evident in recent events, such as the Maratha reservation issue. It remains to be seen if Pawar's meeting with Shah will change the dynamics or escalate the conflict further. Additionally, an ego clash is emerging between Sena veterans Gajanan Kirtikar and Ramdas Kadam, and the Pandharpur temple trust is in a dilemma over which deputy CM to invite for a ritual.

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Updated on Nov 13, 2023 05:36 AM IST

Backroom strategies that worked

As the agitation took a violent turn three days after Jarange-Patil went on hunger strike a second time, Shinde and Fadnavis held an all-party meeting and succeeded in isolating Jarange-Patil over the demand that all Marathas should be given Kunbi certificates

Backroom strategies that worked
Updated on Nov 06, 2023 07:48 AM IST

State averse to all Marathas as OBCs

Govt to collect empirical data afresh to fight the case in SC; activist threatens stir from today if govt fails to change its stance

Members of Maratha Kranti Morcha burn tyres and other inflamable items on Pune-Solapur Highway, on Tuesday. (PTI)
Updated on Nov 01, 2023 07:04 AM IST

One social media post, many speculations

On Saturday, Fadnavis gave an interview to Marathi channel TV9 insisting that Shinde would remain chief minister for the full term, adding that he would be made member of the legislative council if he is disqualified as member of the legislative assembly

The post was deleted in less than an hour.
Updated on Oct 30, 2023 07:34 AM IST

Maha becomes caste cauldron as communities get aggressive about reservation

Maharashtra is facing a socio-political crisis as various communities protest for reservation rights, threatening to tear apart the social fabric. Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil is set to resume his hunger strike, demanding benefits for Marathas in the OBC category, and has also joined forces with the Dhangar community, who are agitating for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes category. The government has not yet made a decision on the demands, leading to increased tensions and protests. This issue is expected to impact the upcoming elections in Maharashtra.

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Updated on Oct 25, 2023 07:38 AM IST

Tackling the topic that was not in the syllabus

Over the past few years, BJP has been trying to win over Marathas. It managed to get several influential Maratha leaders on its side. From the late Vinayak Mete to descendant of Maratha king Shivaji, Chhatrapati Sambhaji, several Maratha leaders who were vocal on the issue of reservation, made common cause with BJP

On Sunday, Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange-Patil announced to intensify the agitation if the government doesn’t accept the demand by October 24. (HT PHOTO)
Updated on Oct 23, 2023 08:14 AM IST

Ceasefire over, gloves are off

Uncle Sharad Pawar dismissed Ajit Pawar's dream of becoming CM, intensifying their feud. The chances of bye-polls for Pune and Chandrapur before 2024 are slim.

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Updated on Oct 16, 2023 08:14 AM IST

The caste cauldron

For the past couple of months, the issue of caste-based reservation is already dominating state politics with Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil staging a hunger strike and a jittery state government accepting his demand that Marathas should be given caste certificates as Kunbis (a sub caste of Maratha) for reservation in jobs and education under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category

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Updated on Oct 09, 2023 08:26 AM IST

Vacant cabinet posts to be filled to pacify allies

As per the rules, the council of ministers can have a maximum of 43 members, including the chief minister. The current strength of the council is 29: the Shinde-led Sena and the BJP have ten ministers each while nine ministers are from the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the NCP

Mumbai, India – Sept 04, 2023: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde with Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar address a press conference after a meeting on the Maratha reservation, at Sahyadri Guest House, in Mumbai, India, on Monday, Sept 04, 2023. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 09, 2023 08:16 AM IST

Jarange-Patil kicks off tour to push for Maratha reservation; OBC activist calls off hunger strike

Jarange-Patil’s demand for Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community in Marathwada region has upset OBC outfits. They are worried that a similar demand will come from Marathas in other areas, and they will eventually end up losing a large chunk of their quota as Kunbi is a sub-caste of Marathas but gets reservation under the OBC quota

Jarange-Patil kicks off tour to push for Maratha reservation; OBC activist calls off hunger strike
Updated on Oct 01, 2023 11:01 PM IST

The disqualification riddle

The Supreme Court's directive on the disqualification petition against Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has created uncertainty in the Shiv Sena and NCP factions. MLAs from both parties are concerned about the impact of the verdict on the ruling alliance's prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is speculation that the Assembly may be dissolved after the verdict, leading to simultaneous elections for both the Lok Sabha and Assembly. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's recent actions have also confused allies, with some wondering if he is sulking or trying to distance himself from the BJP. Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar's interactions with rivals have caused unease among his allies. Finally, leaders of the Janata Dal (Secular) in Maharashtra are planning to dissociate themselves from former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's decision to join the BJP.

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Updated on Sep 25, 2023 12:37 AM IST

Biggest test yet for Speaker

When the hearing began, it was made clear by Narwekar that nobody except the MLAs and their lawyers would be allowed inside the hall in the Vidhan Bhavan

For the next few months, Narwekar will have a lot of work on hand: conducting hearings of the MLAs and then deciding who could be disqualified under the provisions of the anti-defection law. It will be his biggest test in his political career so far. (PTI)
Updated on Sep 18, 2023 12:47 AM IST

State govt faces hunger pangs

Also, Kunbis and other existing castes in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category would come out on the roads to protect their quota. For the past few days, ministers and officials have been scratching their brains to find out a solution to end the activist’s fast

State govt faces hunger pangs
Published on Sep 11, 2023 12:50 AM IST

Pawar vs Fadnavis, round 2

The first round began post the 2014 elections when Fadnavis, then chief minister, realised that he had to take on Pawar to establish his dominance in the state. It went on till 2019 as Fadnavis cracked down on NCP rule in cooperative sector, lured several Pawar aides to join BJP and also led the saffron combine to return to power

Pawar vs Fadnavis, round 2
Updated on Sep 04, 2023 12:20 AM IST

Ajit and that elusive CM post

Ajit has never hidden his ambition for the top job in the state. He supported the selection of Patil as deputy chief minister after the 2004 assembly elections.

War between NCP factions resumes but Ajit avoids direct attack on Pawar
Updated on Aug 28, 2023 03:02 AM IST

‘BJP does not have the courage to face people’

Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray and the party chief Uddhav Thackeray are rebuilding the party after chief minister Eknath Shinde exited with 40 MLAs over a year ago. Aaditya is also hands-on with arrangements for the forthcoming INDIA meet in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1

Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray speaks with the media during a press conference, in Mumbai, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade) (PTI08_07_2023_000162B) (PTI)
Updated on Aug 23, 2023 12:49 AM IST

Lok Sabha Polls: BJP’s problem of plenty, MVA looks for candidates

Normally, the understanding in any political alliance is that each constituent keeps its seats and decides whether to renominate the sitting MP or pick a new candidate. However, to ensure victory, the BJP is preparing a plan for all the constituencies including those held by its allies

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Updated on Aug 21, 2023 12:30 AM IST

Different parties, Sainiks in key positions

Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar was Shiv Sena spokesperson. He quit the party to join the NCP and later switched to the BJP and contested assembly elections. Wadettiwar was in Shiv Sena and quit the party alongwith Nayaran Rane when the latter walked out with a bunch of MLAs to join the Congress in 2005. Though Rane later shifted to the BJP, Wadettiwar stayed on in the Congress.

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Updated on Aug 07, 2023 12:35 AM IST

A cordial break-up

The split in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has taken a surprising turn with the two factions showing cordial relations, but tensions may rise again as senior party leader Sharad Pawar resumes his state tour and the Election Commission decides on the faction's claim to the party symbol. Meanwhile, in the BJP, senior leaders from Maharashtra have been given key positions in the party's national executive, indicating their importance at the national level. In the Congress, senior leaders are becoming more aggressive in their attacks on the government in a bid to secure the vacant leader of opposition post. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari candidly admitted that winning voters' trust is crucial for success in elections.

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Updated on Jul 31, 2023 12:39 AM IST

Present tense over ‘future chief minister’

For the past fortnight, the main topic under discussion in the corridors of power has been if Ajit would replace Shinde

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Updated on Jul 24, 2023 12:38 AM IST

Ajit gets finance, BJP brings NCP camp on par with Shinde’s Sena

The BJP reached a deal with its alliance partners in Maharashtra, ensuring that Ajit Pawar becomes the deputy chief minister with the finance portfolio.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar during a press conference in Mumbai, Friday, July 7, 2023. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)(PTI07_07_2023_000294B) (PTI)
Updated on Jul 15, 2023 03:56 AM IST

Ajit gets finance as 9 NCP leaders join Maha cabinet

After protracted negotiations, the portfolios of the nine Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ministers in the Maharashtra government have been announced. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar retains the finance portfolio, while Dilip Walse Patil heads the cooperation department and Chhagan Bhujbal takes charge of the food and civil supplies department.

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Updated on Jul 15, 2023 12:25 AM IST

The battleground of 80 assembly seats

Shiv Sena and NCP, two political parties in Maharashtra, are facing internal splits. Both party heads are rebuilding their parties and targeting rebel MLAs in upcoming elections. There is speculation about a potential change in the chief minister position. Additionally, several daughters of established politicians are entering politics and being groomed for future roles. The inclusion of the NCP in the government is seen as a relief by some state administrators.

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Updated on Jul 10, 2023 01:01 AM IST

Gen-next to watch out for in Maharashtra politics

They come from different backgrounds though most of them are from political families – all unified by ambition and a forward looking approach in politics. They are equally well-versed with the politics of power and know why realpolitik matters. HT profiles some of the young players who are out there to bring about change

 (HT Illustration)
Updated on Jul 09, 2023 01:16 AM IST

Parallel Pawar shows: My turn, says nephew; uncle lashes back

Both factions of the NCP scrambled to corral legislators on its side and held almost parallel shows of strength in Mumbai, mobilising thousands of workers from their strongholds to make a point

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Updated on Jul 06, 2023 12:35 AM IST

Tale of two rebellions: How Shinde, Pawar exits were plotted on to ‘punish’ the leadership

While Eknath Shinde, then the urban development minister with Shiv Sena, exited the party with 40 supporters in June last year, on Sunday Ajit Pawar led a similar rebellion supported by nine of his party colleagues, and was sworn in as the deputy chief minister in the Eknath Shinde-led government

Mumbai, India - July 2, 2023: NCP Leader Ajit Pawar interacts with Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis, while oath taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jul 03, 2023 01:01 AM IST

Ajit Pawar rebels again, joins Shinde cabinet with 8 others

The NCP split comes exactly a year after the cleaving of the Shiv Sena, and it was executed with similar stealth and precision. At least 37 of the NCP’s 55 MLAs have defected with Ajit Pawar, and more are likely to follow

Under the present anti-defection law, at least two-thirds of the party MLAs need to break away from the original party and merge with another existing party in the Assembly. However, last year, when he split the Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde upended this by claiming that his faction was the original Shiv Sena and not Uddhav’s faction. Ajit Pawar similarly indicated on Sunday that it was he who represented the real NCP. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 03, 2023 12:54 AM IST

Two rebellions that reshaped the contours of Maharashtra politics

After Eknath Shinde split the Shiv Sena in June last year, Ajit Pawar on Sunday led the second rebellion by swearing-in with eight NCP colleagues.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Sunday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 03, 2023 12:13 AM IST

In another Maha twist, Ajit splits NCP, becomes Dy CM

The surprise alliance between Ajit Pawar and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra has raised questions about the future of the opposition parties in the state. The move has also led to speculation about Sharad Pawar's intentions for the 2024 elections.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Sunday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 02, 2023 11:40 PM IST
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