Sharad Pawar, the Maratha strongman who has kept all guessing
Political experts also say that Pawar is playing a smart game and wants the Shiv Sena to first take the big step of walking out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and then ensure the BJP’s defeat in the trust vote whenever that happens.Updated: Nov 07, 2019 18:21 IST
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s handling of the current political crisis over government formation in Maharashtra has reinforced his political acumen and ability to play his cards in a deft manner.
As the deadlock over the government formation continued on the 14th day after the results were declared on October 24, the two pre-poll partners, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena, are still at each other’s throats with both insisting that the chief minister should be from its party.
Amid all the turmoil and barbs flying back and forth between the decades old allies, the 78-year-old Maratha strongman has kept everyone on tenterhooks with his crafty political moves. He hasn’t revealed his cards and has, in fact, insisted that the mandate for the NCP and the Congress was to sit in the opposition and the onus of the government formation was on the BJP-Shiv Sena combine.
While this has been his public stand, sources says that the Maratha leader has indicated in various meetings that for any arrangement with the NCP, the Shiv Sena needs to dump the BJP.
Political experts also say that Pawar is playing a smart game and wants the Shiv Sena to first take the big step of walking out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and then ensure the BJP’s defeat in the trust vote whenever that happens. “He wants the BJP to form the minority government and Shiv Sena should defeat that government in the subsequent trust vote. After the collapse of that government, he will take over,” said Mumbai-based political analyst Abhay Deshpande.
“Pawar is not allowing the Shiv Sena to use his shoulders to bargain,” he added.
Pawar is also aware of the sensibilities of the Congress in dealing with the Shiv Sena. Not only do they have ideological differences there is a huge trust deficit too.
The Congress is of the view that the “ongoing drama” is a bargaining game being played by the Shiv Sena, for which it is using the NCP-Congress as a tool to seek political gains from the BJP.
Congress leaders have repeatedly cited instances where the saffron parties have engaged in war of words over the past five years but have always reconciled in the end, eventually coming together to fight the Lok Sabha elections. Another issue flagged by the Congress is the refusal of the Shiv Sena to withdraw its minister Arvind Sawant from the BJP-led government at the Centre despite being at loggerheads in Maharashtra.
With just two days left for the term of the Maharashtra assembly to end, the time is running out for both the Sena and BJP. Both allies held their party meetings today and a team of BJP leaders also called on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari but are no closer to forming a government.