Backstabbing is not new to Maharashtra politics

Backstabbing is not new to Maharashtra politics

“It’s a black day.” “Democracy has been murdered by the BJP.” “The Governor acted in a biased manner, the government is illegal government.”

"It's a black day." "Democracy has been murdered by the BJP." "The Governor acted in a biased manner, the government is illegal government."

"It is betrayal of the Constitution. Modi had said 'Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga', but now his party is indulging in horse trading." "Pawar has been back stabbed, this is rank opportunism….," the leaders of political parties and analysts who are divided on party lines have been shouting at the top of their voices on television channels since Saturday morning.

Legal experts who have knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court said, "The gross mala fide, arbitrariness and illegality is writ large on the face of the impugned actions of the Honourable Governor in as much as the latter has proceed to swear in a Chief Minister who is well short of the majority mark of 145 in the State Assembly by 40 MLAs and had only recently, on November 10, turned down the Governor's invitation to form a government for lack of numbers, despite having ample time to garner support for itself," adding that the political alliance of the NCP-Congress with the Sena "constitutes a clear majority in the House".

The younger generation who might be witnessing such intense politicking for the first time may believe that the BJP has resorted to murder of democracy. But then one should know that such manipulations in Indian politics is not new. In fact, manipulations and scheming have been seen from the days of Mahabharat.

But for the present, let us talk about the politics of post-Independence era. It would be good if at-least the old-time politicians recall what the so-called modern day 'Chanakya' did in 1978 to become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Elections in 78 threw up a hung Assembly. Janata Party had won 99 seats and became the single largest party. The Congress had two factions at that time. One was known as Indian National Congress led by Devraj Urs and the other was Congress (Indira).

Together they had 130 seats. The game of negotiations started and with smaller parties and independents, a post poll alliance was stitched with wafer thin majority and Vasant Dada Patil who was very senior and seasoned politician staked his right to form the government.

Sharadchandra Govindrao Pawar, who is now known as Kaka, initially extended his support to Vasantdada and voted in support of the government during the trial of strength.

But being a 37-year-old young and ambitious leader, Sharad Pawar drove from Assembly straight to the Raj Bhavan and staked claim to become the youngest Chief Minister of Maharashtra. This had brought an abrupt end to the Vasant Dada Patil's government.

Later, along with his mentor Yashwant Rao Balwant Rao Chavan, Pawar joined the Congress (U) in July 1978 but broke away from his party and took the help of Janata party to become the Chief Minister.

He re-joined the Congress in 1980 and split the party in 1999 when Sonia Gandhi took over as president, to protest her foreign origin and formed the NCP.

Interestingly, today no one is asking Pawar how he would explain all these somersaults. Were they democratic and ethical acts? Was not democracy murdered at that time? The analysts who keep shouting at the top of their voice on electronic media should also explain this before they say that democracy has been murdered.

In fact, the day Emergency was announced, democracy was murdered. How many more times can it be murdered? Some people say that Ajit Pawar backstabbed 'Kaka'. Well is that new in Indian politics? What about the 1978 episode? Was it not backstabbing Vasantdada Patil?

It sounds ridiculous to hear expressions like rank opportunism etc, etc. What else do political parties do if not indulge in rank opportunism.

If the Opposition can remain united, if its members are really committed to the party ideology, well, it can defeat the government of the day.

But if there are politicians who are willing to be traded or take recourse to opportunism, then there is no point in talking about ideology.

The ideologies and ism's have lost their relevance as long back as late seventies. All that would happen in Maharashtra politics between now and the day of show of strength would be nothing but political drama.

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