Panchayat Poll Results, and a little more!
Results of Maharashtra Panchayat polls are out. Even though the Panchayat polls are not held along party lines, parties claim candidates owe allegiance to them. Marathi news channels and the Print media are giving different figures, but it is now safe to say that BJP and the Shinde faction have emerged at Number 1 spot followed by the NCP, COngress and the Uddhav faction being dragged to the last one. These polls can be called as the litmus test before the main elections. To analyse this, the Uddhav faction Sena really needs to pull up their socks. Rallies across Maharashtra by scion Aditya Thackeray and alliance with the Sambhaji Brigade has clearly gone against the Uddhav faction. This strategy clearly did not work. As a matter of fact, alliance with Uddhav Thackeray has rather helped the NCP and Congress since 2019. From 2014 to 2019 both the Congress’s were on the brink of either getting split and joining other parties, but the formation of MVA gave them another lease for life along with the money power in the 2.5 years of governance. So much so that today both the Congress’s are ahead of the Uddhav faction Sena in every election. Also, it is a point to be noted that whenever any big/small elections took place in Maharashtra since 2019, the loser is always a Sena candidate or the party itself. Yet, Uddhav Thackeray refuses to budge, refuses to change his advisors and refuses to change his stance over his alliances with both Congress’s.
One thought that Uddhav Thackeray will be seen in a different avatar when Eknath Shinde pulled off the coup. Uddhav Thackeray in fact spelled out on many occasions on his visits to Sena Bhavan that very soon he will commence touring Maharashtra. But this promise still remains on paper. As a matter of fact, his estranged cousin, Raj Thackeray has moved out of his comfort zone, travelling Maharashtra and singing the Fadnavis-Shinde tune. All in all, the battle lines are clearly drawn in Maharashtra–It is Fadnavis-Shinde-Raj Thackeray V/S Sharad Pawar-Uddhav Thackeray-Congress.
Most important observation of yesterday’s panchayat poll results is the significant rise and command of the NCP in various belts of Maharashtra; especially the western Maharashtra and Nashik belt. State President Jayant Patil should now accept that Ajit Pawar, come what may, is the bigger leader than him, anyone who thinks otherwise. Ajit has grass-root people voting for him and this is the only reason why he was/is not being finished in spite of him facing so many internal challenges from his own party. They might humiliate Ajit Pawar (the one recently at party conclave meet to select the president of the party), but everyone knows once Sharad Pawar retires, forget anyone else, only Ajit is capable of running the show for the NCP. And mind you, the rise of the party in the last 3 years cannot neglect efforts of Jayant Patil, Chagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Munde, Hemant Takle and many more; and to conclude, Ajit Pawar has many MLA’s in his support as compared to any other leader in the party.
COngress on the other hand even though at snail’s pace, is slowly but surely moving. City President Bhai Jagtap and State President Nana Patole are proving to be effective. Only thing that is pulling them down is UNITY. Too many want to become the captain. It was rumoured that senior leader Ashik Chavan was joining the Fadnavis/Shinde camp and now the party is thinking of replacing Patole with Chavan to avoid the jump. Then there is the brainiest of all, Prithviraj Chavan who has been sidelined. It is Patole’s job to unite the likes of Thorat, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and walk hand-in-hand. Here in Mumbai Bhai Jagtap has managed to win the trust of all including Varsha Gaikwad, but has not been able to strike a chord with Arif Naseem Khan. Both are at loggerheads badly against each other.
As a journalist of this state and reporting politics, I am willing to accept that for the first time I am really confused as to what is happening in the Shinde-Fadnavis government. There is governance but there is confusion. I don’t see the synchronisation anywhere. I don’t see the Fadnavis stamp anywhere. I don’t see DISCIPLINE. I see the CM and DCM toiling day in day out and trying really hard, but there is something brewing and is deeper than what meets the eye.
Vikrant Hemant Joshi.