OPINION | Second Best: Will BJP be Able to Appease Shiv Sena with Deputy CM Post after Satisfying Dushyant Chautala?
For a party like the Sena which ensured that it created a politics of “remote control”, this is a new experience where the remote control is now being provided with a battery as well in the form of Aaditya Thackeray.
File photo of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (Image: PTI)
The list of deputy prime ministers and chief ministers is a rather embarrassingly long one in Indian politics. It starts off with the original Lauh Purush, or Iron Man, Sardar Patel himself, who was India’s first deputy prime minister. The seventh and last one, so far, was the man who positioned himself as Iron Man 2, LK Advani. In between there were five more individuals who occupied this portfolio which actually has no constitutional sanctity. The same is the story with deputy chief ministers. As many as 16 states have this model. If Uttar Pradesh has two deputy chief ministers, then Andhra Pradesh has five. This post too, lacks any constitutional validity. Typically, this position is offered to mollify estranged allies.
Just like Dushyant Chautala, who is the latest to be added to this list of deputies. For a man who fought an election on the plank of BJP being anti-Jat, it couldn’t have been easy to switch sides so swiftly until he had that designation. The story is now unfolding in a similar way in Maharashtra. Should young Aditya Thackeray be a deputy chief minister? In Bihar, Lalu Yadav managed to get his son Tejashwi appointed as a deputy CM to Nitish Kumar. That experiment collapsed sooner than one may have anticipated. In Maharashtra, the story appears to be slightly different. For one, it’s a case of the first member of the Thackeray family making it to an elected position. For a party which ensured that it created a politics of “remote control”, this is a new experience where the remote control is now being provided with a battery as well. Conventional wisdom suggests that Uddhav Thackeray will ultimately be appeased with a deputy CM post for his son along with some other key portfolios for his party. If he were to accept that, the possibility of Shiv Sena getting a chief minister of its own will recede in the near future. Allies of the BJP and opponents have realised post the Haryana and Maharasthra results that even if PM Modi himself can't be challenged right now for the status of numero uno neta in India, state governments led by BJP can certainly be taken on. In a contest, you pick your battles carefully. Uddhav Thacekray has realised that there won't be any high-profile meeting with Modi coming to Matoshree, much like Vajpayee going to the Thackeray residence when Balasaheb was alive. The lack of chemistry between an Amit Shah and Udhhav Thackeray is an open secret. In that kind of a scenario, the Sena is best positioned to bargain hardest this time around for a rotational chief ministerial formula.
That’s the reason why Sanjay Raut of the Sena is issuing practically hourly warnings to the BJP. We will get to know which model Uddhav Thackeray choses soon. Does he remain the eternal critic of the BJP unwilling to bite, or does he feel that his young son Aditya can indeed be positioned as future of Maharashtra politics?
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