A hair-raising analysis of how successful the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ will be in Maharashtra ahead of the Lok Sabha polls will be elaborated in the next few days. But at the moment, the question is whether the Shiv Sena party will exist. Eknath Shinde will have to join another party to avoid the legal complications of the change of party. Shinde agrees to join the BJP, but many of his comrades want to carry on Balasaheb’s legacy. But is it possible for Uddhav to save the heartbroken party if the Chief Minister’s chair is gone? Writing Sutirtha Chakraborty
Maharashtra is hot again with the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray. But this heat is not practically heat. In the eighties and nineties, the way Mumbai, Thane, Nasik and Pune were lit up by Thackeray’s roar – now his shadow is not visible in this tumultuous period of Shiv Sena. The BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ in Maharashtra has not only brought the country’s democratic structure and the Mahabikash Agari coalition government to the brink of collapse, it has also brought Shiv Sena to the brink of extinction.
It may take some time to clarify whether the leader of the rebel army MLAs, Eknath Shinde, joined the BJP with the party. However, the rush of Shiv Sena from ‘Matsree’ is becoming clear. Mayawati’s entire party is on the verge of rising due to fear of CBI and ED. In Uttar Pradesh, the salt of the ‘Bahujan Samaj Party’ is now burning. Kansiram, the ‘Messiah’ of the Dalits, once took the Bahujan Samaj Party to such heights that they succeeded in seizing power in states like Uttar Pradesh. It is a common saying in Indian politics that ‘Uttar Pradesh belongs to, Delhi belongs to.’ Kansiram’s disciple Mayawati therefore dreamed of the PM’s chair. Now, in that Uttar Pradesh, Bahenji has to fight for survival. The BJP’s “Operation Lotus” has almost completely swallowed up the Dalit vote bank of Behenji.
[আরও পড়ুন: প্রমত্ত পদ্মার বুক চিরে সেতু দেখিয়ে দিল বাঙালি কী করতে পারে]
Whether this outcome is waiting for Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena Janya will be understood quickly. The Shiv Sena, an extremist nationalist party in Maharashtra politics, was formed in the late sixties. Starting with ‘Maharashtra only Marathis’ whose slogan eventually reached ‘Hindustan Hindus’ – they are now just a shadow of the past. Surprisingly, the battle is now raging between Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena in Geruadhari – whether to stay in the secular Mahabikash Agari alliance or return to the Hindutva NDA alliance. Needless to say, even if he returns to the NDA, nothing will return except the skeleton of Shiv Sena.
The victory of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh meant that the BJP would not remain silent about Maharashtra. There is no need to be an expert in politics to understand that Modi-Shah’s occupation of Maharashtra before 2024 is on the agenda. The BJP has been trying to weaken the Mahabikash Agari alliance since 2019. There are 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. Maharashtra is second only to Uttar Pradesh in terms of number of Lok Sabha seats. As a result, there should be no doubt that the BJP will not want to go to the Lok Sabha polls by keeping the Mahabikash Agari alliance comprising Congress, NCP and Uddhav’s Shiv Sena in power in the country’s second largest state. Modi-Shahra has finally been able to reach a point where the Shiv Sena has been effectively disbanded by manipulating the ED and the CBI.
As the son of Balasaheb Thakur, Uddhav Shiva got the power of the army. But it is understood from the sources of inheritance that he could not acquire any more political qualities of Balasaheb. In the nineties, some miscreants threatened to kill Balasaheb on the phone. In response, Balasaheb threatened the party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ the next day, saying that if he got a scratch on his face, the Shiv Sainiks would wipe out from the country the people who were threatening him. Criticism of Balasaheb’s harsh remarks caused a storm in the country. There is little care for the ‘Hindu heart emperor’. The fire was burning all over Maharashtra. Over the past few days, it has been seen that Uddhab is trying to stop the rebels of the party by inciting public anger along the path of his father. However, the response is not so great.
Balasaheb’s rise to prominence by capitalizing on the politics of street fighting, Uddhav has gone in exactly the opposite direction after gaining the power of the party. He has always relied on ‘courtroom’ politics. This political strategy of Uddhav has gradually alienated him from the mainstream Shiva soldiers. Mainstream Shiva soldiers sit within the four walls of the house and take to the streets much more relaxed than tactical politics in vandalism, blockade politics. Shiv Sena’s rebel Eknath Shinde can be compared to the once controversial leader of the state, Subhash Chakraborty. Subhash Chakraborty’s position in the CPM was once much the same in Shiv Sena politics. After Balasaheb’s death, Shiv Sena has been cornered in Shinde as much as it has been captured by Uddhav. Uddhav has brought his son Aditya as his successor. He has taken Shiv Sena into more cold storage politics. Though cornered in the leadership, Shinde has gradually got the support of Shiv Sena’s lower level workers and MLAs. Shinde realizes that it is impossible for Balasaheb to survive unless he returns to the politics of extremist Hinduism.
The BJP is using the central agency on the one hand and Shind’s perception on the other hand to make ‘Operation Lotus’ a success. After moving to Guwahati, most of the party’s MLAs are now realizing the importance of the politics of his father’s street fighting. When Balasaheb faced challenges, he would return to aggressive politics with threats. Balasaheb risked his life by setting Maharashtra on fire when he was arrested by the then Congress government in the late 1990s on charges of inciting the ’93 Mumbai riots. Uddhav wanted to repeat the same incident by leaving the official residence of the Chief Minister ‘Barsha’ and returning to ‘Matsri’. The country has witnessed a fancy event. The Chief Minister left the official residence with his family and boxers, but did not move from his chair. Rain-soaked Mumbai night saw tens of thousands of Shiva soldiers join the 10 km road with Uddhav, but their traditional rage disappeared. The whole of Maharashtra was accustomed to see the outburst of fierce anger of the Shiva soldiers during Balasaheb’s lifetime, but not a speck of this new generation of Shiva soldiers exists.
How successful the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ will be in Maharashtra before the Lok Sabha polls, and where its response will be in the country’s politics, will be analyzed in the next few days. But at the moment, the question is whether the Shiv Sena party will exist. Eknath Shinde will have to join another party to avoid the legal complications of the change of party. Shinde agrees to join the BJP, but many of his comrades want to carry on Balasaheb’s legacy. Uddhav, the Adityas claim, they are still carrying the legacy of Balasaheb. Is it possible for Uddhav to save the fragmented party when the chair of the Chief Minister is gone? Or is the fate of Shiv Sena going to be the same as that of BSP?
[আরও পড়ুন: কাশ্মীরি পণ্ডিতরা কি এখন বিজেপির ‘শাঁখের করাত’ শাঁখের করাত?]
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