Maharashtra crisis political masterstroke, MLAs free to switch allegiance: TOI poll

Times of India | 3 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 04:20 pm

Maharashtra crisis political masterstroke, MLAs free to switch allegiance: TOI poll

NEW DELHI: MLAs being taken to resorts, sulking politicians and photo-ops exhibiting a show of strength — the political crisis in Maharashtra, triggered by a rebellion within Shiv Sena, has become a national spectacle in the last few days. As minute-by-minute details of the crisis play out in the media, TOI asked its readers about their take on the crisis and how it's not just about the fall of a government but also about upholding the mandate of the people. Read AlsoIs the ‘Sena loyalist’ ready to deal the final blow?The ranks of the rebels have swelled to a point where it now appears a serious threat to the ruling coalition. Also, for the first time the rebel leader Eknath Shinde has referred to a “national party” willing to support him.Interestingly, respondents were split about how they felt about videos of MLAs being corralled to different states to escape party bosses. Over 27% of the respondents said they felt sad at the state of democracy when they watch videos of the political crisis on TV or social media, while roughly an equal number of readers expressed happiness that there's enough freedom of choice in the country. Around 24% said they felt anger at the politicians and 19% felt frustrated as a voter. A majority of the respondents also felt that the Maharashtra MLAs (mostly those from Shiv Sena) who first went to Surat and then to Guwahati did so of their own volition. Only 38% said that the MLAs may have been taken to opposition-ruled states forcibly in order to topple the ruling MVA government. Asked if what's happening in Maharashtra is dirty politics or a political masterstroke, 59% of the respondents felt it was the latter. On the other hand, around 41% said that the events in the western state are a part of "dirty politics/horse-trading of MLAs." More than half the respondents (53.4%) felt that the anti-defection law, which prevents elected MLAs from switching sides, still matters. Over 46% felt that the law has lost its relevance since defectors get rewarded in other ways (read horse-trading). Read AlsoWhy anti-defection law has failed to prevent defectionsThe law was a non-starter because it attempts to solve a political problem through legal means. Here's why the law was brought in, how it has worked and why it has failed all over IndiaRespondents were quite clear about upholding the mandate of voters. Over 72% of those who participated in the poll said that voters have the right to recall a representative in case he or she defects to another party since elections are fought between parties, and on party symbols. Only about 28% said that it is alright for politicians to jump ship in case there is a lack of inner-party democracy. Notably, while most respondents felt that the Maharashtra crisis is not driven by horse-trading, a majority of them said that money power does play a big role in political crises. Around 65% of the respondents said that ruling party MLAs jump ship primarily due to money power. Conversely, less than 35% felt that it is politics that determines such moves.

Google Follow Image


Similar News

BJP responsible for saffron alliance break up: Chandrakant Khaire
Times of India | 1 day ago | 27-06-2022 | 05:12 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 27-06-2022 | 05:12 am

AURANGABAD: Chandrakant Khaire, four-time former MP from Aurangabad, on Sunday blamed BJP for the breaking up in the decades-old saffron alliance. He went on to blame former CM and incumbent Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis for compelling the formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Khaire made the statement while addressing a news conference in the presence of over a dozen Aurangabad district Shiv Sena office-bearers, and current and former MLCs Ambadas Danve and Kishanchand Tanwani. “The MLAs who have switched over to the Eknath Shinde camp are rebels. If they do not return to the party fold in another two days, they will be tagged as traitors,” he said. He added that Sena has faced many rebellions before, and like on previous occasions, the party will bounce back much stronger. Khaire claimed many MLAs, who are currently in the rebel group, were not aware of the Shinde-camp’s game plan and they have ended up in the trap. He expressed confidence that once the MLAs come back to Maharashtra for the floor test, many will return to Sena. He said people in Maharashtra will not forgive any backstabber, and added that the rebels have harmed their political careers by ditching the party and the chief minister who gave them everything. He even questioned rebel MLA Sanjay Shirsat and Cabinet minister Sandeepan Bhumare about their legitimate sources of income. “Both of them were autorickshaw drivers and made a fortune in the name of the party that gave them tickets and got them elected,” said Khaire. He also came down heavily on MoS Abdul Sattar for harming the party. Khaire said he does not feel bad for Sattar. “Abdul Sattar came from another party, so I am least bothered about him and his politics. However, I feel bad about Shiv Sena MLAs switching sides by either succumbing to bribe or pressure,” said Khaire.

BJP responsible for saffron alliance break up: Chandrakant Khaire
The crisis in Maharashtra shows the anti-defection law to be ineffective, even counterproductive
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 26-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
1 day ago | 26-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

The political crisis in Maharashtra has brought focus back on the anti-defection law. By all accounts, the law has failed to shore up the stability of elected governments. Not only have many governments fallen due to defections in recent times, but the defectors have not suffered any cautionary consequences. There are many ways to thwart provisions of the law: the Speaker can sit on the defection pleas for the term of the assembly; the beneficiary party can facilitate accretion of defectors through money and investigative agencies to hit the magic two-thirds threshold. The voters don’t seem to care about punishing the defectors either – 11 out of the 14 defectors who stood for re-election in the 2019 Karnataka bypolls won on the BJP ticket. Some have thus argued that the way forward is to amend the anti-defection law to fill these lacunae by mandating time-bound decisions by the Speaker and disqualifying defectors from standing for the next election as well. These proposed amendments like the original law want to consolidate power without necessarily putting in the requisite politics. They may thus help consolidate the leadership’s intra-party power but the underlying aversion to ongoing politics leaves them vulnerable to bigger external powers.First, it should be obvious that the practice of politics is too wide for any institutional process to fully capture. Politicians are adept at subverting institutional processes for their own ends and there are many possibilities for payoff for defectors outside of elected office alone. Moreover, politics has a rich history of exercise of power by proxy and the disqualified representative may simply choose to have a family member stand in their stead. It thus seems unlikely that these amendments can plug the gap in any substantive manner, especially if the defections have been engineered by the threat of investigative agencies. The anti-defection law and proposed amendments approach the issue of defections from the prism of denying power to the defector, a framing which repeatedly comes up short in the face of a bigger and/or more punitive power. Beleaguered parties may denounce the BJP but in the absence of mobilization of public opinion, these condemnations have at best rhetorical value, moving neither the BJP nor the defectors.Within this framework, if political parties want to resist defections, they must be able to project (imminent) power themselves. At the same time, political parties must address organizational and ideological infirmities which have made them susceptible to mass defections in the first place. There are only about 4000 MLAs in a country with a population of almost 1.4 billion people. However, political parties tasked with representing the aspirations of crores of people are unable to find candidates who take themselves seriously enough to not cross over to political opponents. In fact the bar is so low that the MLAs have to be physically corralled and phones confiscated to ensure alignment with the Party stand. This is not apolitical outrage but has pragmatic organizational value. It is one thing for a few individuals to be susceptible to threats and inducement, another for the organization to be vulnerable to mass defections. Individuals can be faulted in the former but the latter calls for urgent introspective and corrective measures at the level of the leadership.Two measures with both short-term and long-term implications come to mind. First, political parties need ideological clarity and the ability to attract individuals with a sense of purpose and not love for power alone. This ideological depth if reflected in the party organization and its political programs will give members the ability to withstand lean periods of power. Every party has committed individuals; internal party processes must be geared to identify and promote them into leadership positions. This ties into the second issue. Multiple analyses have attributed the political crisis in Maharashtra in part to Shiv Sena’s inability to accommodate the aspirations of its dissident MLAs. The rebel MLAs on their part have spoken of the Chief Minister’s inaccessibility. The MLAs may be opportunistic but there is no question that political parties are failing to create intra-party forums where grievances can be expressed and resolved on an ongoing basis. Internal mechanisms for inner-party democracy – from elections to deliberative forums – are ultimately at the discretion of the party leadership. Scrapping the anti-defection law would provide some institutional leverage to express intra-party dissidence and while it may be more chaotic in the short-term would lead to greater stability and political strength in the long-term.Finally, two fundamental questions. In trying to legislate political affiliation – a key freedom in democracy – political parties are repeatedly giving primacy to legal instead of political battles since these issues inevitably end up in court. This repeated ceding of political power to the judiciary is a serious deviation from the democratic paradigm and must be checked. Second, the anti-defection law has undermined not just the very principle of representation but has also contributed to polarization in our country by making it impossible to construct a majority on any issue outside of party affiliation. Instead of providing stability, the law has undermined our democracy. It is time to scrap the anti-defection law.The writer executive director of the Future of India Foundation

The crisis in Maharashtra shows the anti-defection law to be ineffective, even counterproductive
Opinion: Uddhav Thackeray Can Claim 'Marathi Identity' Was Betrayed
Ndtv | 2 days ago | 25-06-2022 | 02:53 pm
Ndtv
2 days ago | 25-06-2022 | 02:53 pm

"Shiv Sena is a lion's den, you can only go in, you can't come out."This is what Manohar Joshi, who rose to Chief  Minister of Maharashtra, and later, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said in response to a question on why he did not leave the Shiv Sena.But that myth about the lion's den stands shattered to pieces with Shiv Sena leaving the party in such numbers that even the not-so-die-hard Sena supporters are aghast. Eknath Shinde did what former stalwarts Chagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray could not do. When they left the Sena, it created ripples but it did not turn into a tsunami; the Sena flourished. Today, the Sena is in such deep crisis that the very existence of the party is uncertain. This depends on whether Shinde is able to prove that more than two-thirds of MLAs stand with him against Uddhav Thackeray.The Shiv Sena was never a traditional political party. It was more of a cult around one man, Balasaheb Thackeray. His word was law and he virtually ran Mumbai because Shiv Sainiks would follow his instructions blindingly. Despite not holding any post ever in the government, he was a law unto himself; he was 'Sarkar' for millions of Maharashtrians.Uddhav Thackeray has been reduced to a minority in the party founded by his father, Balasaheb Thackeray.Balasaheb Thackeray was originally a cartoonist and had worked with the legendary R K Laxman. He was the son of Keshav Sitaram Prabodhankar Thackeray who was a reformer in his own right, and a very accomplished writer who had once "called for boycott of a temple which had refused to allow Dalits to offer worship." Sujata Anandan writes, "Bal Thackeray's father, at a public meeting, gave up his claim to his son and proclaimed that henceforth Balasaheb's life would be dedicated to uplifting Maharashtrians in Maharashtra."'Secure Maharashtra for Maharashtrians' was the call of senior Thackeray which he wanted his son to carry forward. Before the inception of the Shiv Sena in 1966, 'Maharashtra for Maharashtrians' was a thought which needed to be consolidated; Balasaheb accomplished that task by forming a political party which was originally used by the Congress governments in Maharashtra to counter the communist trade union movement which was very powerful in the 1960s. It is said that the Congress then supported the Shiv Sena with 'money bags'. It is no wonder that Thackeray supported the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s. The Sena then was not a Hindutva party. It stood for the 'Marathi Manush' who felt threatened by the migrants coming to Mumbai from other states to earn their living. Preservation of the Marathi Identity is even now significant in the tension between Delhi and Mumbai.The Sena was comfortable with the BJP as long as it had an edge over the BJP in electoral politics. No BJP leader could afford to ignore 'Matoshree', the Thackaray residence, and survive in Maharashtra politics, but with the emergence of Narendra Modi as the supreme commander of the BJP at the centre, the equation changed. In 2014, the Sena and the BJP contested elections separately, with the Shiv Sena originally not supporting the BJP government in Maharashtra, but doing so later. But through it all, despite being an alliance partner in the government, the Shiv Sena was more critical of Modi and the BJP than any Opposition party.In 2019, the Shiv Sena, despite contesting the assembly elections with the BJP, decided to part with it and aligned with Sharad Pawar's NCP and the Congress, which are ideologically the diametrically opposite of what the Sena supposedly stands for. The Shiv Sena by then had been dislodged from the position of big brother. The Congress at the centre had been replaced by the BJP, and it is the BJP that is now viewed by the Sena as the 'New' Delhi that wants to dominate the Marathi Asmita. The NCP and the Congress are in no position to dictate terms to the Shiv Sena, but the BJP can do that.Senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde is leading revolt against Uddhav Thackeray.Those who view the conflict between Sena and the BJP merely as a conflict between two parties are missing the core issue. The Shiv Sena in Maharashtra politics does not want to play second fiddle to any all - India Party which potentially could subsume its Marathi regional identity. Historically, the Marathas never surrendered to Delhi. Both were constantly at war. Chhatrapati Shivaji is the biggest icon of this struggle. Those who felt that with the demise of the Balasaheb Thackeray, the Shiv Sena could be manipulated missed the basic reason for the existence of the Sena. Sena has given voice to voiceless Maharashtrians who felt pushed to the margins by the more educated migrants. About the Sena supporters, Sujata Anandan writes in her biography of Balasaheb, "The bulk of that crowd was drawn from the working classes and from the rank of the unemployed and even uneducated people with idle minds."Eknath Shinde, the architect for the revolt against Uddhav Thackeray's leadership, was once an auto driver. Many top Sena leaders had very humble beginnings. Can people like Shinde, who is already being viewed as playing Delhi's game, become the symbol of Marathi Asmita? At the outset, it seems very remote that Shinde and his group have a long-term future. For the time being, he may look victorious, but in the long run, his group will always be seen as traitors who backstabbed the Marathi cause.There is no doubt that Uddhav Thackeray is more soft-spoken and more accommodative than his father. But to assume that this episode will annihilate the Thackeray's legacy would be reckless. Thackeray and 'Matoshree, are not just a name or a house, they symbolise an idea which has always resisted the might of the centre and never surrendered. The lion's den will recover.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com(Ashutosh is author of 'Hindu Rashtra' and Editor, satyahindi.com.)Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

Opinion: Uddhav Thackeray Can Claim 'Marathi Identity' Was Betrayed
Manoeuvres in politics will go on but governance shouldn’t stop: CM Uddhav Thackeray to bureaucrats
The Indian Express | 3 days ago | 25-06-2022 | 03:45 am
The Indian Express
3 days ago | 25-06-2022 | 03:45 am

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday told the state administration that development works shouldn’t be held up due to the ongoing political crisis in the state. Thackeray on Friday held a virtual review meeting attended by divisional commissioners, district collectors, municipal commissioners and secretaries of government departments at the state secretariat.Speaking to the bureaucrats, he said that when took over as the chief minister two-and-a-half years ago, he had no experience of administration and the bureaucrats guided him. He added that while he did not know how long this political deadlock would continue, but the bureaucrats were always welcome at either Matoshree or Varsha bungalows.“Don’t hold up important development works related to welfare of people. Get in touch with me directly,” Thackeray said. He added, “There is always uncertainty in politics… Political manoeuvres will go on but governance shouldn’t stop. The administration should ensure that people’s day-to-day issues are resolved immediately.”A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said that at the meeting, Thackeray reviewed the current Covid-19 situation in the state, sowing operations for kharif crops, availability of urea, disaster management preparedness and facilities for warkaris (devotees) at Pandharpur temple town for the upcoming ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’ festival.WITH inputs from PTI

Manoeuvres in politics will go on but governance shouldn’t stop: CM Uddhav Thackeray to bureaucrats
In Sena rebel Eknath Shinde village in Satara: School, hospital absent; two helipads present
The Indian Express | 3 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
3 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

The Maharashtra urban development and public works minister and senior Shiv Sena leader, Eknath Shinde, has continued to be in the spotlight for raising a banner of revolt against the Chief Minister and Sena president, Uddhav Thackeray, and engineering a stunning split in the party by getting more than two-thirds of its total 55 MLAs to rally behind his leadership, which has pushed the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to the brink of collapse.Having staked his claim to the post of the Sena Legislature Party leader from his luxury hotel in Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam, Shinde, 58, and his supporters might have incurred the wrath of another section of Sena leaders and workers affiliated to the Thackeray camp in their constituencies, but the rebel leader’s moves have got ringing support from the residents of his native village Dare in Satara district, who hope fervently that he is going to take over as the CM.Dare, which has only about 30 houses, is situated on the banks of the Koyna river in a remote, backward belt, about 70 km from the hill town Mahableshwar, on the foothills of the Sahyadri hills. The village is skirted by the forest reserve on one side and Koyna on the other. Most of its houses are locked as their inhabitants are migrant labourers who have to work in Mumbai and Pune in the absence of any regular source of income in the village.For the past few years Shinde has started paying attention to Dare, which his father had left to shift to Thane when he was a child. “He (Shinde) and his family never missed the annual religious fair of the village earlier, but it was only for the past few years that he really started taking interest in the village,” said Laxman Shinde, Dare sarpanch, as he along with other villagers, both men and women, cutting across all ages watch Shinde operating from the centre-stage of Maharashtra politics on their television sets.Dare falls in the Wai-Mahableshwar Assembly segment of the Satara Lok Sabha consituency, both of which are currently represented by the Shara Pawar-led NCP, an ally of the MVA coalition. “The area has been an NCP stronghold and Shinde has never tried to influence the village to follow his party. He has never engaged in any political activity locally, although he has initiated some development works in the village. We villagers stand by whatever decision he takes but we have been praying that he becomes the chief minister one day and make the village proud,” the sarpanch said, adding that when in village Shinde “urges the villagers to live together in peace without getting into any kind of disputes”.Significantly, there is neither a school nor a hospital in Dare, with the nearest place for the villagers to access any educational or health facilities being Tapola at a distance of 50 kms by road or 10 kms by boat, which is situated on the other side of the Koyna river.Dare has however seen the setting up of two helipads as Shinde always arrives in the village by a chopper. “There was one helipad developed by the minister in the village which is alongside Koyna river. However, the second helipad is also ready on a hill few metres away from his house in the village and would soon be in use,” said Ashok Shinde, Eknath Shinde’s cousin, who supervises the development work in the minister’s private property there.According to his affidavit that Shinde, a four-time MLA from Thane’s Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency, filed with the Election Commission (EC) for contesting the 2019 Assembly poll, he bought 12.45 acres of agricultural land in Dare in December 2018 at a cost of Rs 21.21 lakh while his son and Sena MP Shrikant Shinde bought 22.68 acre of land at Rs 26.51 lakh in November 2017 in the village.The family is building a palatial farmhouse on their land that will see Dera’s first concrete road linking it to the village road. Dozens of labourers have been managing the farmhouse that has cattles and ducks. “We are here all the time, our sahib (Shinde) visits the farmhouse once in a month and stays here up to two days,” said a labourer. Shinde’s longest stay in his farmhouse was for eight days last year, when he had tested positive for Covid and had come to the village to recover.A class eight student from the village, Sunny Shinde, who may not be much interested in politics but is excited to see his famous village resident being continuously in the limelight for days, said that everyone there was closely following the news as it might change their lives. “The schools have reopened but I am unable to attend it as the river is dry. It is too wide and cannot be crossed without a boat, so all children going from this part of river have been exempted, like always, from attending school (located in Tapola) as by road it is at a distance of 50 kms and the state public transport bus passes only once in a day,” he said, adding that only class ten students go to school by bus while remaining ones have been given homework and allowed absence till August 15.An elderly villager Kisan Shinde, who is a distant relative of Eknath Shinde, points to a house to say that the latter was born there but shifted to Thane along with his father, where he studied and joined politics under the influence of late Sena leader Anand Dighe. However, some of the villagers said that Shinde was born in Thane and not in the village.Anand Nalwade of Walne village near Dare said Shinde was “the only hope for the 105 villages alongside Koyna river” that have come under submergence since the construction of the Koyna dam. He said, “We have been suffering for long due to Koyna dam. There is no agriculture income nor any other source of income or facility in the area. Youths have left the villages for earning their living in cities and we manage to survive on their financial assistance. Our problems should be solved by Shinde by ensuring a decent living for us,” he said.

In Sena rebel Eknath Shinde village in Satara: School, hospital absent; two helipads present