Lessons from Maharashtra: Mafiagiri has limitations

The political “mafiagiri” unleashed by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has met its Waterloo in Maharashtra.  The curtain has come down on the Devendra Fadnavis Govt. “Bade  beaabroo  hoke nikle, tere kooche se“, Fadnavis announced his resignation at a hastily convened press conference.  Fadnavis tried to put up a brave face, with a forced smile on his lips. But the loss of Vitamin P (P for Power) was overwhelming. The Opposition pulled victory out from the jaws of defeat. Narendra Modi, a vegetarian,  has eggs on his face. The 56 inch chest has shrunk to 5.6 inches! The mid night surgical strike on the Constitution has backfired.  If someone today asks Modi in Gujarati: Kem Chho? (how are you?), he can’t reply : Maja Maa (I am fine). And Modi’s Man Friday Amit Shah,  a “tadipar” turned Home Minister is licking his wounds. Operation Lotus lies in tatters. As I write this piece, Smriti Irani must be wiping Narendra Modi’s copious tears ! How did this miracle happen?

I think that Sharad Pawar is the Man of the Match. The Modi Shah duo underestimated the Maratha strongman. Narendra called NCP, the Naturally Corrupt Party. Ajit Pawar, mired in the multi crore irrigation scam, figured high on the Ram Bhakts’ hit list. A video went viral on the social media after the BJP joined hands with Ajit Pawar.  Devendra Fadnavis was shown threatening Ajit Pawar that the latter would be “chakki pissing” in connection with the irrigation scam. But the same Ajit Pawar, the scam tainted leader of the Naturally Corrupt Party became Narendra Modi’s blue eyed boy as Modi and Shah proceeded to split the NCP. Ajit Pawar was sworn in as the Deputy CM and within hours the Anti Corruption Bureau gave him a clean chit. Modi hai to mumkin hai! However, when the “bachcha” (Ajit Pawar) switched over to the BJP side, the “chachcha” (Sharad Pawar) struck back with a vengeance.  The old Maratha warhorse rallied his MLAs and completely isolated his nephew. According to the grapevine,  as Sharad Pawar is getting old, succession battle has begun in the  NCP. Sharad wants to hand over the party reins to his daughter Supriya Sule. The nephew Ajit Pawar has been sulking.  The BJP fished in troubled NCP waters and encouraged Ajit to blow the bugle of revolt.

Ajit Pawar became a textbook example of the Hindi saying: Chaube chale Chhabbe banne, Dubey ban kar laute. His revolt proved to be a damp squib. He made himself a laughing stock and paved way for Supriya Sule to emerge as Sharad Pawar’s  successor. Ajit Pawar was replaced with Jayant Patil as the leader of the NCP MLAs.

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah fell prey to over confidence bordering on arrogance.  The power drunk  Gujarati duo behave like a bulldozer whose brakes have failed. They brook no opposition, no dissidence. During the past five years Modi and Shah, operating in the fashion of the Mexican drug mafia, have unleashed a witch hunt against their critics. Sanjeev Bhatt, an upright IPS officer, dared to expose Modi’s role in the Gujarat bloodbath. He was first dismissed from the IPS. Then he was convicted in a so called custodial death case. I was given a premature retirement in the “public interest”. Many Modi baiters were branded as Urban Naxals and put behind bars. Pro Modi terrorists were rewarded.  Sadhvi Pragya, a Malegaon bomb blast accused, was given the BJP ticket from Bhopal and the shameless Narendra Modi sought votes for her. In Karnataka, the JDS Cong Govt was brought down though brazen horse trading. In Bihar, the BJP stormed to power in a mid night coup, with some help from Nitish Kumar’s  elastic antaratma.  The list is endless. The Modi Shah duo excel in the vendetta politics. The SPG cover to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi has been withdrawn.  Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned to destroy the JNU because the University is a communist stronghold.

The same cynical game was played in Maharashtra. For Narendra Modi, “Maharashtrawad” holds more importance than ‘Rashtrawad‘! Maharashtra is a rich state, a “malaaidaar” province.  The budget of the Bombay Municipal Corporation exceeds that of several small Indian states! Bombay is the commercial capital of India.  Narendra Modi ‘s langotia yaars , Ambanibhai, Adanibhai operate from Bombay.  And the  RSS  is headquartered in Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra. Maharashtra was too precious to be left to the Congress and its allies.

But the Operation Lotus boomeranged.  BJP lost its oldest ally the Shiv Sena. The Congress outwitted the saffron party. The tremors of Maharashtra earthquake will be felt all over India.  Next month,  counting of votes will take place in Jharkhand.  On the 23rd December, two days before Christmas.  And the  BJP there is already on the back foot. Its ally AJSU has deserted it. A senior BJP leader Saryu Rai has unfurled the banner of revolt. The JMM Cong RJD alliance is firmly in place. The BJP gamble of making a non tribal Raghubar Das the Jharkhand CM has not gone down well with the adivasis. Their bows and arrows are ready to hit the lotus. After the Maharashtra fiasco, the Jharkhand Governor will also be somewhat circumspect.

In the end, I suggest the Maharashtra Governor to resign immediately.  He has disgraced the office of Governor. The Maharashtra Governor is Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. His surname rhymes with “hoshiyari” (cleverness). But his hoshiyari has brought grief to the nation.  The Supreme Court ruling is a slap in his face. Koshiyari, a former Uttarakhand CM, should leave the Raj Bhawan bag and baggage and meditate in the Garhwal hills for some time!

(Mr. Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. His views are personal.)

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