As MVA enters third year of government, rumblings at local level rise
PUNE Earlier last week, Shahaji Patil, a Shiv Sena Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Sangola in Solapur district startled many when he claimed that he could win the 2019 elections only due to the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and other small parties, while lamenting that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has deprived seniors of ministerial births.
Patil said he was not given any ministry and was asked to keep quiet by his party after the elections. “There are only 1,100 votes of Shiv Sena in the tehsil. Despite that I was elected as an MLA due to the support of the BJP, NCP and other parties,” Patil claimed.
Two days later, Patil clarified that Shiv Sena has a strong base and most of the votes he garnered during 2019 elections were only due to his party and the appeal among masses for Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. In his clarification, Patil said, he was pointing at senior leaders like Baban Shinde from NCP to have been kept out of ministry despite winning polls for three decades.
This isn’t the first instance leaders at local level are expressing against the parties they belong to or members from alliance partners of MVA government. There have been multiple instances in the past three months where rumblings among leaders from the Shiv Sena and NCP have been on display or in some case, they have clashed over local issues through acrimonious statements made against each other.
For instance, the three-time MP from Shiv Sena Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil has on multiple occasions expressed that NCP is trying to “trample” Shiv Sena in Pune district. When contacted, Adhalrao Patil reiterated saying NCP is trying to “finish” Sena even as the latter is following alliance dharma. His latest grumble was over cancellation of bullock cart race he had organised in Khed-Ambegaon region on January 1. The race, according to Adhalrao Patil, was cancelled at the behest of NCP, whose Dilip Walse-Patil comes from the same region and is home minister in the MVA government.
When asked if Shiv Sena has taken cognisance of “expansionist” NCP at the cost of Sena in Pune, Adhalrao said, “I have not been contacted by anyone so far from my party even as I have alerted them.”
Political observers attributed silence from key Sena leaders to avoid disturbing equations among three partners – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – at state level to keep the government intact. “Those who are raising issues mostly find themselves inconvenienced due to changed political equations post formation of MVA government and have upcoming municipal polls in mind. Those maintaining silence right from top leadership are the ones who are beneficiaries as they have got key positions in the government,” said Chitra Lele, professor, political science
What Lele pointed out was seen when another senior Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam went into revolt mode earlier last month. Kadam, called his party colleague Anil Parab as “traitor”. “Leader like Parab is out to finish the party,” alleged Kadam.
Kadam even tried to approach chief minister but was not offered a chance. Some Sena leaders said the leadership has become inaccessible in the past few months.
In yet another instance, Sena MLA from Nashik district Suhas Kande criticised NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal alleging that Bhujbal sanctioned more funds for his own constituency under District Planning Development Council. Former union minister and Sena leader Anant Geete, accused NCP chief Sharad Pawar as “backstabber”
In most instances, those engaging in war of words with leaders of alliance partners find the new political equation unsuitable to their local politics, something the BJP may want to encash in the upcoming municipal polls. On record though, BJP leaders have repeatedly said in the past that the MVA government will fall due to its inherent contradictions.
While at local level, some leaders are uneasy, their leadership has deepened ties by strengthening the alliance.