THE PLATFORM

Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of Maharashtra, seems to have challenges popping up throughout his term. His rivals – Devendra Fadnavis and the Bharatiya Janata Party, unfold a new problem for Thackrey every day. It took a lot for Thackeray to become chief minister of Maharashtra. The NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance is an ideologically and politically compromised coalition. But it was the only way the Sena’s Thackeray scion could have managed to secure the top post in its home state.

Securing the top post was only the beginning of what has turned out to be a tough battle for Uddhav Thackeray. So far, Thackeray has shown his staggering degree of inexperience and lack of control over sensitive matters, which has led to much embarrassment for his government. Look at, for instance, the utter mismanagement of the pandemic. Maharashtra has been among the biggest concerns in the first wave of the pandemic, with Mumbai emerging as the most significant hotspot. COVID patients in the city lost crucial hours being between hospitals for available ICU beds, despite having the best resources in the country. In the second wave, Maharashtra once again emerged as a hotspot.

MVA’s government has so far seemed clueless and panic on the COVID front; it has also wasted a significant amount of time on a spate with the centre over some petty issues instead of focusing more on the pandemic. Uddhav’s government has also been left red-faced by its ministers. Forest Minister Sanjay Rathore, whose name emerged in connection with a TikTok star’s death and, after that, former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s corruption case.

The Sena-led MVA government has looked even worse in terms of the law-and-order situation. From Sushant Singh’s suicide case to a witch hunt against Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami, to Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia bomb scare episode — a lot has blown up in the face of Uddhav’s government. For Uddhav Thackeray, all has not been well on the allies’ front, with differences being aired publicly and even Congress-NCP questioning Thackeray’s ‘unilateral functioning,’ which shows a lack of trust within the coalition.

Thus, such a series of events shows Shiv Sena and Thackeray’s inability and lack of control on administrative matters and government functioning. The BJP, as the opposition, has now gone back to its tried-and-tested method to try and bring down the Thackeray government. The corruption plan and much more brought down the UPA in 2014 with the same tactic inciting people against the Gandhis. Shiv Sena has to handle it all now but seems incapable of doing the same so far.

Maharashtra politics is now more complicated because it also involves a threat to the Ambanis by a cop who the BJP alleges is Thackeray’s close aide. Fadnavis has alleged that Thackeray had requested him to reintegrate Sachin Waze in 2018 after he got out of service upon the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus. And former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s letter isn’t helping the MVA either. It is a clear advantage for the BJP now. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar has several times stepped in to resolve the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government troubles and emerge as a problem solver. This time, it may be too late.

Rehan Rajput is a political analyst and frequently appears on TV as a debate panelist. He served as Research Director at KRK Media and Research. He is a Founder and Editor of RR Power School, dedicated to International Relations and geopolitics.