Thursday, July 7, 2022

Destabilisation politics

It is easier to blame the BJP for engineering destabilisation of non-NDA ruled states since coming to power at the Centre in 2014 than on the failures of the state governments to successfully counter the game. BJP has elbowed Congress in eight states and today with NDA partners rules 17 states covering 44% of India’s territory and 49.6% of its population. BJP wants more till it becomes the only dominant national party. As the political crisis unfolds in Maharashtra, top BJP leaders have played hosts and negotiators as they executed ‘Operation Lotus’. Operation Kamal or Lotus’ has been repeatedly used by the BJP which allegedly orchestrated successful campaigns, including poaching, to replace an elected Opposition-ruled government midway with their own leaders. It is not only the BJP but also central agencies that have put huge pressure on opposition MLAs with summons and reviving old cases with the unmistakable message that reprieve is just an aisle away to the BJP bench. In the latest development, the BJP has succeeded in engineering a crisis within the Shiv Sena MLAs in Maharashtra when over 37 rebelled against chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The rebel leader Eknath Shinde has managed to spirit away anti-Uddhav members to Surat then to Guwahati where they are currently holed up. Government formation in Maharashtra was replete with suspense and betrayals in November 2019 . Sena walked away from BJP over rotation of CM post. Seeing the writing on the wall, Maharashtra governor Koshyari recommended President’s Rule. Then in a surprise move, PR was revoked just when NCP leader Sharad Pawar managed to have NCP and Congress back the Sena to form the government. Revocation was later seen as a way for BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to form the government with backing of Sharad’s nephew and heir apparent Ajit Pawar. After Supreme Court agreed to floor test, Fadnavis resigned. Ajit Pawar did a homecoming to his uncle Sharad. This cleared the decks for the installation of Uddhav-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition. Hardly two years later, the BJP has exacted its revenge by splitting the Shiv Sena. The political crisis in Maharashtra may not necessarily be attributed to the success of BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ but more to purported disrespect shown on grass root Shiv Sena party workers by Congress, NCP leaders and bureaucrats. This grouse was nurtured by Eknath Shinde, a veteran Sena worker and politician who is leading the current rebellion. The Shiv Sena and BJP are two sides of the same coin but circumstances took them apart and brought the Sena to NCP and Congress for power. There never was any love lost between the Sena and the NCP and Congress as could never see eye to eye due to ideological differences. The MVA was chugging along till the recent Rajya Sabha and legislative council polls where Shiv Sena MLAs cross voted for BJP nominees. The BJP’s has been on campaign and destabilisation mode since coming to power at the centre in 2014.The issue may witness controversies surrounding the role of the governor, the speaker and the centre-which had been prominent in all the ‘Operation Lotus’ games where constitution and convention do not apply. The only hope to ensure due process of law is the Supreme Court and hopefully, it will ensure just that in the days to come.

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