The NCP supremo, Sharad Pawar, the Maratha warlord and Grand old Chanakya of Indian politics, successfully installed Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister of Maharashtra by Political manoeuvring of Shiv Sena, once the political foe of congress. Uddhav Thackeray, son of Grand Maratha Bala Saheb Thackeray was the first from Thackeray family to take oath as Chief Minister. However, it has become an open secret that NCP supremo is cleverly and clandestinely dictating the terms and has the remote control of ministry in his hand. He is consolidating NCP power and influence across the state by implementing its agenda.
He has successfully isolated the Sena from its Hindutva agenda and ideology of Savarkar. He is relentlessly trying to dilute Shiv Sena from its militant views on issues like CAA and NPR.
But some recent developments indicate that taming of Lion has not been efficacious and Uddhav Thackeray should not be taken for granted. It appears that the battery of the remote control in hands of Sharad Pawar is now with the chief minister who has become a tough cookie that is why both NCP and Congress are finding it difficult to dictate CM in policy matters.
Handing over the investigation of ill-famed the 2018 Bhima Koregaon and Elgar’s case to NIA by the State Chief Minister, overruling his own Home Minister, NCP leader Anil Deshmukh, is Straws in the wind which indicates a rising undercurrent of discord between the Shiv Sena and the NCP.
Unequivocally, without mincing his words Sharad Pawar lambasted the Chief Minister for supporting the transfer of investigation to NIA.
The second point of confrontation between the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi — alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is centered around the CAA. Shiv Sena voted in favour of CAB in Lok Sabha and favoured the bill by walking out in Rajya Sabha. However, in the beginning Sharad Pawar ensured that the Maharashtra government led by Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray should oppose the CAA.
Notwithstanding, all these claims, CM Uddhav Thackeray has said that there is no need to worry if the CAA is implemented. Nobody should fear the CAA. His cautious approach on the citizenship question, has not gone down well with the alliance partners, the Congress and the NCP, which have ruled out any scope for accommodation on the issue.
Obviously differences between the Maharashtra allies have come to the fore as the NCP and Congress, allies of the Shiv Sena, strongly oppose the citizenship law that has sparked nationwide protests since December last year.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar told reporters in Mumbai that the chief minister had his views about the CAA but the NCP had voted against it in Parliament too.
After the Elgar Parishad and the CAA row, a fresh rift has opened up in the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra over the National Population Register (NPR) updation, which is set to start in the state from May 1. Thackeray gave his assent to National Population Register (NPR) in the state in even though the NCP and Congress are persistently opposed to the exercise.
Harshal Pradhan, chief media advisor to CM Thackeray and Sena, said, “NPR and NRC are two different subjects. NPR is related to the census and it is the Centre’s prerogative to implement it.”
Chief Minister is keen to implement NPR in Maharashtra from May 1 and had opined that the NPR is a census and that he will go through columns given in the form. “I don’t think there will be any problem with it.” He said.
The chief minister did not refuse to implement the NPR but he did not announce its implementation in the current form either.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “The entire exercise has created panic among the common people. It appears to be an exercise for harassing people.”
Thorat said Congress will study the information sought by the Union home affairs ministry for NPR. “We have been told uncalled-for information has been sought,” he said.
This is not the end and future is uncertain. Differences are cropping up within constituents because the other two players are leaving no stone unturned to mould Uddhav Thackeray in their line.