The government formation drama in Maharashtra is providing fodder to the speculative quest of political pundits, the opportunist legislators and the stock market. Corporates are still hoping for the return of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis with the support of fellow Hindutva fascist ally Shiv Sena. As the BJP, which won 105 seats in the 288-seat Maharashtra assembly, denied Shiv Sena — with 56 seats — the chief minister’s seat for half the tenure, the latter upped its ante against the national ruling party.
Even though the BJP backed out from negotiations to form a government, though, for the time being, the Shiv Sena couldn’t fix up an alliance with the Congress party, which has won 44 seats, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which won 54 seats. If the unlikely alliance between these parties is formed, then there will be a 154-majority alliance government in Maharashtra, much to the ignominy of the BJP. The Congress and the NCP had fought the elections against the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance by calling both equal enemies of Maharashtra.
Though the NCP, shedding its secular inhibitions, is ready to form a government with the Shiv Sena, to save its flock from defecting to the BJP, which has still not started buying members of legislative assembly (MLA) as it tried in Goa and Karnataka, the Congress party is still in dilemma over whether it would shed the veil of sham secularism and partner with a Hindutva fascist outfit, which it once helped to gain prominence in Maharashtra. The Congress party’s dilemma caused the Shiv Sena one crucial day, as it failed to prove the majority to the Governor, who invited Uddhav Thackrey to form a government.
Will the Congress high command still wear the mask of secularism, even after revealing its support for the Ram Temple following the Ayodhya verdict, or will it now reveal its Hindutva fascist core? This is a question the answer to which will pave the way to Maharashtra’s political future. The Congress party’s state leadership won’t allow the BJP to seduce the Shiv Sena and will force New Delhi to allow the formation of a government. It’s an impossible task for the party leaders to retain their MLAs once the BJP starts offering them a lucrative bait, in case a government isn’t formed. The same is also true for the Shiv Sena, which also locked its MLAs in a hotel, to prevent horsetrading. Yet, it’s impossible for it to stop the inevitable, whenever the BJP starts throwing baits.
The formation of such an alliance by the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress in Maharashtra will actually tear down the facade of secularism that these right-wing parties have been wearing since a long time. It will prove to the Muslims, the Dalits and other marginalised people how hollow is the secular credentials of these parties as they can partner with anyone in lieu of power.
In case the Congress supports the NCP-Shiv Sena alliance, it fears, it will lose the Muslim votes in other parts of India, especially in Jharkhand, Delhi and Bihar, which will go for assembly elections soon. But the Congress party also knows that it will be able to retain its worth in Maharashtra, where it’s totally diminished due to the BJP’s rise. The final decision of Sonia Gandhi & Co will decide the future course of the Congress party’s political journey. The revival of the party is directly connected with its ability to shed the pro-Muslim tag it has been adorned with, in Modi-fied India, and show the world that it’s equally Hindutva fascism-inclined like the BJP.
Whether the Congress-NCP forms an alliance with the Shiv Sena and helps it form a government with a Shiv Sena chief minister or the BJP either buys opposition MLAs to gain majority or imposes a President’s rule on the state, in all cases, the cause of democracy, the rights of the working class, the cause of the farmers and the cause of secularism will be defeated. None of these combos would work for the sake of the people but for the sake of big corporate capital and its lackeys.
One must remember, come whichever coalition, the working class, the farmers, the Dalits, the Muslims and the arrested rights activists will suffer the most under the present system. Therefore, it’s imperative to change the focus of Maharastra’s politics from Hindutva fascism to the core causes of the people that none of these parties will raise.