The swearing-in of the three-party autorickshaw-modeled Maha Vikas Aghadi government of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Congress and the Shiv Sena, last year, heralded a new era of coalition politics and naked opportunism in Maharashtra politics.
This Maha Vikas Aghadi, or the MVA government, came to power with the historic opportunity to build on the tremendous all-round development work done across Maharashtra by Devendra Fadnavis-led NDA government. Instead, in these past 15 months, the MVA government has presided over a chaotic descent of Maharashtra’s polity and governance to an abysmal level.
Overwhelmed by its abject failure at handling the coronavirus pandemic, the MVA government found itself further pummelled by citizens for its mishandling of the Sushant Singh Rajput case as well as many urban and rural issues. Unable to weather criticism, the MVA government used the police machinery to embark on a personal agenda of vengeance, jailing citizens and mediapersons.
To cover up its failures, the MVA government ministers and the Sena functionaries have repeatedly invoked false bogeys of Maharashtra and Marathi pride. So much so that a Shiv Sena functionary whose wife is under the Enforcement Directorate scanner for dubious financial transactions invoked Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's name to aid his self-proclaimed fight against ED.
The latest threats issued by newly appointed Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole to actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar come on the back of multiple MVA Government ministers facing legal troubles for alleged money laundering, undeclared assets and financial misdealings. Point to note, that none of these ministers have resigned, nor has the chief minister dared to ask them.
The arrival of the MVA government in Maharashtra has also given a fresh lease of life to the anarchists and anti-national voices who masquerade as activists and free speech supporters. This is seen in the kid glove treatment given to Free Kashmir banner protagonist Mahek Mirza and Sharjeel Usmani, who delivered a derogatory anti-Hindu speech.
The recent public support by Shiv Sena’s Zila Parishad chief to the anarchist ‘toolkit’ writers Disha Ravi and Shantanu Muluk, accused of collaborating with a pro-Khalistani group, is the latest in a series of missteps by the members of the ruling MVA alliance.
It is now clear to Maharashtra’s public that the MVA government and its constituents, the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena, as well as its leaders are engaged in a dangerous game of one-upmanship at the cost of destroying Maharashtra’s social fabric, harmony and governance structures.
Nana Patole’s attack on India’s leading film industry stars is in line with the MVA government’s behaviour in the past one year and should be viewed as one more desperate attempt by the new Maharashtra Congress chief to establish his credentials in the eyes of the party leadership, whose uncrowned leader Rahul Gandhi is leading his 135-year-old party on to a radical path of self-implosion, the signs of which are tormenting even his closest supporters.
While the unfortunate decline of the MVA government is clear, I worry for the 12 crore Maharashtrians who are paying and will pay for this misguided electoral experiment called Maha Vikas Aghadi.
On Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s 391st birth anniversary, I seek his divine blessings for the well-being and prosperity of Maharashtra and for an end to the ruinous forces dividing it.