about 10 months ago
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The political situation in Maharashtra has turned from murky to complete ditch water – stinking, slimy and completely hazardous.

We all woke up Saturday morning with eyes and ears only for the “pink ball” but Ajit Pawar threw a complete googly and we all were left stunned, asking ourselves, “what just happened??”

A coup in Maharashtra was not even there on the horizon; it crossed no one’s mind that a nephew would stab the uncle in the heart – katyaar kaaljaat ghusle. This one nephew, like the son of Dhritarashtra in Mahabharata has led to complete ruination. In many ways, Sharad Pawar turned a blind eye to all that which Ajit Pawar did in the past and now it has caught up, lending the party itself a body blow.

Call it a master stroke or check mate or anything else, what happened was just not right – a coup happens in banana republics, where systems are weak and there is complete anarchy. Is that how we should read the situation in Maharashtra right now – the commercial capital of India is seeing the political parties play a kabaddi match. A real kabaddi match is a sport and there is a real winner; here, no one is really the winner but the biggest loser is the state and people living in it.

What we going to have now is an uneasy coalition, a maverick, makeshift, jugadu kind of “party” which will be in power. Ideologies are flushed down the drain and only thing that seems to matter is the post of CM – who will sit on the Sinhasan? It brings to mind what is probably one of the best political films made in India – Sinhasan by Jabbar Patel. The movie itself starts with an assembly session where the Chief Minister has to leave the heated discussion to attend an urgent call. The caller (claims to be a well-wisher and informer) informs CM that some the members from his own party are secretively planning to remove him from his chair. Sense of déjà vu?

Fear of a coup is something which political parties must be living with all the time – who will stab the back and when, one never knows. But one would think that we would have very strong systems in place where such coups simply cannot happen. Who would have thought that one could get together a ramshackle party together and get the Governor of Maharashtra in the middle of the night and not just make him cancel the President’s rule in the state but also swear in the CM in the wee hours of the morning. How could this happen in such secrecy? Don’t we have constitutional systems in place to prevent such secretive coups? This secrecy and the Governor’s availability is what seems to be the most shocking aspect. Can one remove President’s rule at 5.45 AM without the President’s knowledge? What about the ED’s notice to Ajit Pawar?

But over and above all these – one BIG question – what happened to our votes? All those who took the effort to vote are feeling cheated – this is not what they voted for. And those who did not get out and vote will feel vindicated – they were proven right that voting is today farcical and makes a mockery of democracy.

In terms of politics, many have called this a brilliant move and Amit Shah is now officially the “chanakya” of our times. No doubts, this move out of the blue, took us all by a complete surprise. But isn’t this the death of democracy in many ways? Parties, when they went on campaigning before the polls talked about their ideologies but right now, none of them have stuck to any of their founding ideologies. Everything has been sacrificed at the altar of power. Do anything, hook or crook, but get the chair for the next five years – that’s the common ideology which binds all the politicians today. Betterment of country? That’s only poll talks. If this is how a Govt will comes to power, why hold elections at all?

Whatever happens now, whichever coalition comes to power, a sustainable road ahead for next 5 years looks really tough. And it is Maharashtra which will suffer. We cannot say we don’t deserve it because we simply did not get out and vote enough.

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