Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of one of the most vicious terrorist attacks in the history of India. It was a series of attacks carried out by 10 members of Pakistan based terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba that shook Mumbai and the rest of the country.
In 2008, the only terrorist who was caught alive after the attacks was Ajmal Kasab. He was captured on CCTV shooting mercilessly at people. Despite all this, he was given the right to defend himself in the court of law.
I like most others was livid, to say the least. However, I realized why it was right to give him a fair trial. It’s because this country upholds the Indian constitution, no matter what. Coincidentally, the Indian constitution was formally adopted on 26 November 1949.
Cut to 2019. When the result of the Maharashtra Assembly election was announced, it turned out to be a fractured mandate. This marked the starting line from where power-hungry politicians began to run towards the throne.
Ironically, this race concluded on Constitution Day yesterday.
In their lust for power, political parties made a mockery of the constitution and the voters, to put it mildly. So, I thought I should let some cartoons tell you how politicians had the last laugh on a joke that was anything but funny.
How The Political Drama Unfolded
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena fought the assembly elections in Maharashtra as an alliance on an alleged 50-50 seat sharing basis. On 25 October, results were out. BJP, Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) garnered 105, 56 and 54 votes respectively out of a total 288 seats.
BJP and Shiv Sena both eyed the chief ministerial post and faced differences over seat sharing. As a result, they could not reach a consensus on government formation.
When these two 30-year-old political partners parted ways, the western state plunged into a political crisis. The governor first invited the BJP to form the government but it lacked the numbers at the time.
Later, Shiv Sena, the second largest party in terms of vote share, was invited. The party needed time to align its intent, mindset and numbers with others like NCP and Congress on whose shoulders it would climb to claim the throne.
After 18 days of political instability, the President’s Rule was imposed in the state on November 12. This left the Sena far from pleased as it alleged that the haste in imposing the rule was fueled by the BJP.
A Twist In The Tale
Maharashtra went into a deadlock. All political parties did during this phase was math. Which permutation and combination would help them cross the halfway mark? This was the question they tried to answer.
Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress got united in their bid to keep BJP out of the race. They were in talks about the common minimum programme but little did they know that time was running out faster than they thought.
Everyone speculated that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will become the next chief minister. However, the new-alliance-in-making suffered a setback because they counted on a defector who helped their common enemy hit the right count overnight.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the President’s Rule was revoked. BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister for the second time at the governor’s residence on 23 November.
BJP’s mastermind, also known as the Chanakya of Indian politics, Amit Shah pulled off this midnight coup with the help of NCP’s Ajit Pawar-the nephew of party supremo Sharad Pawar.
No prizes for guessing that the deputy chief minister was Ajit Pawar. He is the same man that the BJP deemed corrupt all these years but didn’t bat an eye to turn into an ally when it came to forming the government.
No wonder all cases against him were closed when he rose to power.
Who Will Sit On The Throne?
This surprising turn of events elicited some interesting conspiracy theories from all sections vis-à-vis why Ajit Pawar betrayed his party. Soon, Sharad Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule distanced themselves from Ajit Pawar. Pawar senior clarified that Ajit had the support of only 11 NCP MLAs and they would be subjected to anti-defection law.
Later, Ajit Pawar was sacked from the party. Also, 7 of the 11 defector NCP MLAs came back to Sharad Pawar’s camp.
Meanwhile, MLAs of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress were being taken to various hotels to prevent horse trading. Seems like Karnataka and Goa have taught Maharashtra well enough that BJP can form government with or without a mandate.
On Monday night, the MLAs of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress were paraded in a hotel where they pledged their allegiance to the alliance.
Yesterday, the Supreme court called the curtains when it refused to give BJP-NCP government time till 15 December to prove their numbers and ordered that the floor test happen today. Alas, horse trading won’t be able to fill the coffers of more poor MLAs!
Amit Shah met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after the court order and much to their dismay, they realized that they will have to let go of Maharashtra for now.
First, Ajit Pawar resigned as the deputy CM; then Devendra Fadnavis did. His term lasted only for 3 days.
BJP as the wounded opposition is dangerous for an ambitious Uddhav Thackeray who is all set to be the next Chief Minister on the back of partners whose political ideologies are diametrically opposite.
How long will this house of cards stand in order? I won’t be surprised if it makes for another interesting political drama.
Image Credits: Google Images
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