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For BJP, Uddhav Thackeray is the perfect example — how not to run a government

Sweeter than getting the numbers to form the government is the pleasure of seeing your ally-turned-rival make constant gaffes and seem unworthy of the throne.

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The mess in Maharashtra has infused fresh life into the BJP. The party, which is having a golden run since 2014, has hardly had to do much, except enjoy the show from the sidelines and make noise being the Opposition, each time a new crisis erupts. Considering how out-of-depth the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government has seemed, the party can happily tell the voters, not just in Maharashtra but wherever it is out of power, how only a BJP government can ensure sushasan or good governance, and vikas. The MVA government has given the BJP the perfect Opposition recipe as home minister Anil Deshmukh faces corruption allegations by no less than the former Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh.

The Thackeray-led government has wobbled its way through ever since coming to power in November 2019, stumbling from one embarrassing crisis to another and exposing the chief minister and his team’s administrative inexperience, governance immaturity and an unforgivable degree of incompetence. The BJP, meanwhile, which was pipped to the throne by the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, in what has been referred to as an ‘unholy’ alliance, cannot be more thrilled.

Even sweeter than getting the numbers and forming the government is the vicarious pleasure of seeing your ally-turned-rival, who managed to keep you away from power, make constant gaffes and seem unworthy of the throne. Because that is when you can convincingly tell the voters that it is you, and only you, who deserves to be voted in. For Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, not used to having power being snatched away, Uddhav’s missteps — from constant tussles with the Centre, ally troubles, embarrassment around the Sushant Singh Rajput case, resignation of cabinet minister Sanjay Rathod, the very stark and dismal handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest Mukesh Ambani house bomb scare-Sachin Waze-Param Bir Singh episode — have been like unexpected (or maybe, expected) treats to relish.

The allegations against Deshmukh may or may not be correct, and questions around the timing and motive of Singh’s letter may remain unanswered, but there is little denying that the MVA government is in a soup.

Also read: Mumbai police-politics-underworld nexus unravels with Waze, Param Bir Singh & Anil Deshmukh

The ‘maha’ disaster

It took a lot for Uddhav Thackeray to become the chief minister. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance is both an ideologically and politically compromised one. But it, perhaps, was the only way the Thackeray scion could have managed to occupy the top post in Maharashtra.

Bagging the post, however, was only the beginning of what has turned out to be an arduous battle for Uddhav. He has made obvious his staggering degree of inexperience and lack of control over matters, which has led to much embarrassment for his government.

Take for instance, the absolute mismanagement on the Covid front. Maharashtra was among the biggest concerns in the first wave of the pandemic, with Mumbai emerging as a hotspot. At one point, so lacking was the management of the pandemic that patients were ending up losing crucial hours running between hospitals for ICU beds. In the second wave, Maharashtra once again emerged as a hotbed. As things stand today, the state accounts for 63 per cent of active Covid cases in India, a whopping figure by any measure. On the vaccination front, the Centre had to pull up the state for slow pace of vaccination and “unused” vaccines.

If Uddhav’s government has so far seemed clueless and overwhelmed on the Covid front, it has also wasted a significant amount of time on bickering with the Centre over some key infrastructure projects. His government has also been left red-faced by its own ministers — first from Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod whose name surfaced in connection with a TikTok star’s death and now Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

On the law and order front, the MVA government has looked even worse. From the handling of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s case, to what seemed like a witch hunt against TV journalist Arnab Goswami to the string of cases against certain BJP loyalists for criticising the CM and the government to the Antilia bomb scare episode — a lot has blown up in the face of this government.

Unfortunately, for Uddhav Thackeray, his inexperience in heading a government is jarring, and this, despite having a veteran like Sharad Pawar on his side to learn from and consult.

As my colleague in Mumbai, Manasi Phadke, says, “a lot of the problem lies in the fact that while Uddhav has the administrative experience of heading a political party, he is used to a certain autocracy in decision making, which does not work in an alliance where three parties are jostling for space”. She also points out how the BJP’s machinery is keenly watching every gaffe of the MVA government and swooping in with a large panel of talking heads, launching a coordinated attack with the backing of its IT cell.

For Uddhav Thackeray, all has not been well on the allies’ front either, with differences being aired publicly and Congress-NCP even questioning the CM’s ‘unilateral‘ functioning.

Also read: RSS’ new team has a message for the BJP

Why Maharashtra’s story is crucial

For the BJP, the Sena government’s unflattering graph on the governance front is an important story to make an example of.

The party, under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, almost seemed unbeatable, and was fairly confident of winning Maharashtra again. However, it ended up with just 105 MLAs in the 2019 assembly polls, way short of the halfway mark of 144 in the 288-member House. This dented the party’s image badly for a variety of reasons.

One, it showed the limitations of the Modi-Shah duo, especially given how Maharashtra is not a new territory for the party, like Assam or Tripura — it is a state where its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is headquartered. Two, with Sena jumping ship to the rival camp, it made the BJP look like an untouchable even to someone seen as a natural ally, and made its rivals look more attractive. And three, most importantly, it raised serious questions about former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis — BJP’s young, progressive and gen-next face. For the BJP, the record was looking bad. All its sitting CMs — from Rajasthan to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — were failing to deliver comprehensive wins, with Manohar Lal Khattar just about scraping through in Haryana.

One of Modi’s most important sales pitches is to show himself and the BJP as being in full control, both at the Centre and in states where the party is in power. With Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar’s joint might floundering, Narendra Modi’s message to the voter gets even more amplified. This is sweet revenge for the BJP, and one that it is bound to exploit to the hilt.

Views are personal. 

Edited by Anurag Chaubey

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  1. BJP fought on only 143 seats and still managed to get 105 seats.. That’s a strike rate of more than 60. While shiv sena fought on 145 but got only 56 seats. I don’t think BJP did bad in those elections. Do elections today in Maha, BJP would win majoirity alone. So many shiv sainiks are pissed off at Uddhav for allying with Congi and NCP.

  2. the most important aspect of all this sordid story has been left out. The “godi” media. It has a field day with those not connected with the modi bhai and are no where to be seen when it comes to the government bhai. Clearly under these circumstances a reasoned article pointing out the pros and cons is out of the question

  3. Prefect Title.. it cant be better.

    Good receipe how not to run an Govt is well served by Chef(Chief) and rehetoric Server (Raut) to spoil our meals .

    I think they knew it well before,..thats the reason they dint run Govt so far..

  4. These three parties,SS Cong NCP, knew with Modi and BJP in charge, their corruption would come to an end. This is one last attempt to loot Maharashtra for all it’s worth. Uday wanted to have family memeber at top, which was unlikely as ally to BJP. Pawar needs to loot some more, that one was easy. Congress also needs funds for elections, and Sonia was keen to keep up attacks against Hindus for the Conversion lobby. Many Hindu priests have been attacked by Christian and Mulsim community with Congress defending violent alien crusader perpetrators in public.

  5. The writer must consider the examples of states ruled by non Congress and other party states. One big example is our central government, where the title of the news fits perfectly. Ex soaring prices of petroleum products and many more.

  6. For the first time I am saying that kya baat, kya baat kya baat…. well said the best post ever all corners covered.

  7. Dear writer. Do u think that running the state is easy. In every government this things happens but recently everything is news. Corruption is bread and butter for Indian. From the title itself it looks like you are pro bjp that is why I am writing only comment not reading the story and I am sorry for that.

  8. Why this article so biased… First time government faced an unprecedented pandemic and handle with all strength and about SSR it got weird because of shitty journalism from our media houses and specifically arnab.. Wont say this is the best government but bias is very high. BJP took all the money to vidarbha which was meant for marathwada and Mumbai.

  9. How much money you got to write this article, that too please mention.
    Looks like One of Bhakt written this.

  10. The MVA alliance is post election and was never voted by the people. How the Election Commission and Supreme Court are silently watching this rape of democracy is mysterious. No post electoral alliance should be allowed. If no majority emerges, go back to peopke again. That is true democracy where people are supreme.

  11. This article is insinuating that BJP lost the people’s mandate in Maharashtra. But that’s the opposite of what happened. The bjp sena alliance won overwhelmingly but sena walked out of the alliance. Don’t lie in the name of opinions. Fact is not based on perception.

  12. Guys whatever it may be , I really feel that uddhav thakrey is innocent.. even if he’s not , he’s government is definitely less corrupt than BJP. And he’s really kind guys !There is no clearity yet , so please stop criticizing cm uddhav Thackeray ji. BJP is just trying to create false accusations against him and taking advantage of the situation. This article is nothing but a false narrative!

    • Very well said. No party is totally pure. But any party other that the communal and corrupt bjp is a step in the right direction.

  13. Seriously, the author of this article is more clueless than the government.

    First COVID pandemic was worse is countries like USA, Italy etc and they are still struggling with it. It’s called pandemic for a reason. What should have Uddhav government done to stop it. Can the author please elaborate on that. Mumbai has huge population in a very small area and the climate is also very conducive for virus to spread. The death rate is low what are you expecting the government to do. Kindly elaborate.

    India vaccination drive is a matter of PR for centre nothing more. 5 Cr have been inoculated as if in a country with more than 130 cr people it makes any sense to be happy about it. Secondly you have videos circulating on what’s app and other social media sites asking people to not get vaccinated as it has issues, so obviously things ain’t going to work as usual. Yes government can do better but author is just making it terrible.

    Last the current case looks very fishy. And how come Param bir Singh raised his voice until he was demoted to Home guard. Before that he was fighting with media and others openly for the government and suddenly he goes all out. May be he is wrong or right but the investigation is on. It’s a murky business.

    Rest I can say is that author is doing what the BJP wants i.e. more PR for them. She ain’t doing any favours to the public because there ain’t any substance in her piece.

  14. Either Anurag Chaubey is suffering from selective memory loss, or he is also one of the hundreds of propagandists. Under ‘Why Maharashtra’s Story is Crucial he writes and I quote:
    “The party, under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, almost seemed unbeatable, and was fairly confident of winning Maharashtra again. However, it ended up with just 105 MLAs in the 2019 assembly polls, way short of the halfway mark of 144 in the 288-member House. This dented the party’s image badly for a variety of reasons.
    One, it showed the limitations of the Modi-Shah duo”

    He needs to be reminded of Facts here. He’s portraying as if BJP fought on 288 seats and won just 105. He is ignorant of the fact that BJP contested the 2019 assembly polls in alliance with Shivsena. Also maybe one needs to teach him that in an alliance the seats are shared among alliance partners. Now when Shivsena breached the trust of crores Maharashtrians by walking out of the alliance for Thackeray saheb’s personal ambitions isn’t it obvious that the BJP, the cheated partner of the alliance would have lesser seats!?

  15. Opinion of writer looks unilateral. Baised. Only highlights some of the flaws of present MVA run government with highest hyperbole. No factual data. Only perception based review. Looks like promoting some sort of ideaolgy and in background writer is trying to convince the reader that MVA government is incapable and showed b dethroned .

    • Completely agree. Disappointing to come across such a biased, uni-dimensional writing from The Print. The writer’s clearly biased- not even bothering to present an objective, rounded view of events

  16. Opinion of writer looks unilateral. Baised. Only highlights some of the flaws of present MVA run government with highest hyperbole. No factual data. Only perception based review. Looks like promoting some sort of ideaolgy and in background writer is trying to convince the reader that MVA government is incapable and showed b dethroned .

  17. It is going to be tough task for india. So many parties regional are not having interest on as one india. They are just to say they are better to look after their state. Than who will take a responsibility to make United india interest. Deffinetly today politics is becoming personal gain rather than indian interest. We need only two parties to fight and win. Combining parties if such different mentality will be only satisfy their personal gains and finally our country will suffer.We need today a one india concept either on education, infrastructure, jobs ,culture, one tax structure, one time subsidy clearance. All this possible for one who has one india vision.

  18. It is not mismanagement but usual bjp/rss way of using money power to unsettle opposition ruled states.

    • You may not be aware that Maharashtra has 9% of India population, but 22% of covid infections and 33% of deaths. This has to do with complete miss management of the MVA government. What role does BJP and RSS got to do with it?

  19. The print you are a jerk. Sharad power is only experienced in how to loot the 100 crore from one police authority. Why BJP should not keen interest in maharashtra politics they had won the match but losses because a traitor

  20. Maharashtra doesn’t have a rampant case of malnourishment like more than 3.6 lakh children in Gujarat, nor does Maharashtra lead in the number for crimes against women like UP. Maharashtra doesn’t have daily reports about unchecked caste based violence, nor curbed freedom of expression. Plus Mah contributes highest to India’s share of GDP. So take this article and shove it up right where it belongs & ask real questions to leaders who actually perform poorly. Oh wait, you’re not gonna do that, cuz who’s BJP’s lapdog?

  21. This is a a sickening article. Like seriously? Do you have any fudging clue as to what running a government is? For starters, Maharashtra doesn’t have a rampant case of malnourishment like more than 3.6 lakh children in Gujarat, nor does Maharashtra lead in the number for crimes against women like UP. Maharashtra doesn’t have daily reports about unchecked caste based violence, nor curbed freedom of expression. Plus Mah contributes highest to India’s share of GDP. So take this article and shove it up right where it belongs & ask real questions to leaders who actually perform poorly. Oh wait, you’re not gonna do that, cuz who’s BJP’s lapdog?

  22. Ended up with ‘ just 105 seats’. Dear genius, bjp contested only 152 seats as compared to last time when there was no alliance. Out of 152 they have won 105, that is about 70% strike rate. You have to win only 50%of seats to be claimant. No other party touched even touched 50% strike rate mark. This shows your understanding of politics bjp would have fared well if it had gone alone once again.

  23. As far as corruption charges are concerned MVA is not different from.the previous BJP-Sena govt. What is different is the way of handling. In the BJP tenure they were in total control of bureacracy and of course the more than friendly godi media helped remain in denial mode.
    The problem with MVA is that they have strong adversaries within judiciary, within bureacracy. They have to rule with the help of the IAS IPS lobby which is now the most powerful group that really runs the country although, the show is run by Modi.
    MVA still may probably complete it’s tenure not because of its political acumen but because of the anti-BJP sentiment prevailing in Maharashtra.

    • Allegations were not baseless even in case of SSR murder case. Why in maharashtra every one does suicide from SSR to Hiren?

  24. There is no need for any kind of revenge. It is as clear as day light that the incumbent group has cheated the electorate to whom the legislatures are answerable. In the morning the marriage is between X and Y, but the first night is between X, Z1 and Z2. All those who have attended the marriage ceremony were made fools.

  25. People are hiding simple fact when they say BJP could not get mandate to rule Maharashtra. BJP contested only 164 seats. It shared few seats in this quota with allies so it contested in less than 150 seats and won 105 which is nearly 60% win ratio. Its pre-poll ally Shiv Sena contested 126 seats and won only 42/43 seats which is about 30% win ratio. It ditched BJP. If BJP has contested without ShivSena it would have been able to contest on 126 more seats and it just had to win 1/4th to get complete majority. So 2019 Maha poll was a vote for BJP which it was unethically immorally denied by opportunistic & corrupt MVA alliance

  26. Clearly the author is wrong on basic facts, BJP won 105 Seats out of 150 in 2019 which is way better than it performed in 2014

  27. I don’t agree with the view that Sushant case was botched . The media , especially Republic TV, gave lots of credence to the story that Sushant’s girlfriend siphoned away Sushants money band plotted his murder.
    In the end, ad even CBI concluded, it turned out to be nothing and the case is kept alive by the drug case.
    Also, Republic TV also went in the right direction and he got undue advantage.

  28. WHY the title of this article isn’t: For CONGRESS, Uddhav Thackeray is the perfect example — how not to run a government??!!

  29. BJP did fare very well in the previous elections. The had seat sharing with SS who contested nearly 50% of the seats Had BJP contested all the seats they would have easily got a majority. The Shiv Sena backstabbed them and now it’s fun time for BJP.

  30. Shiv Sena is a party of goondas. They were on a leash when they were part of NDA. With the leash gone, they are doing the only thing they know – goondaism and looting.

  31. Shri Sharad Pawar, as Minister Mentor, could have ensured better governance outcomes. Starting with Covid. Despite age and ailments, he is fully upto the task. Why this has not happened remains a mystery. Perhaps there are coalition stresses that are proving dysfunctional. The question so many people are asking is, Will this government complete its term.

  32. Good article. Just one “error”. BJP won 105 seats out of the 170 odd seats they contested. In 2014 they had contested all 288 i think and won 122. So if anything their electoral performance has been even better in 2019 when compared to 2014. The post breakup by SS was cynical and sheer unethical because SS vote percentage has been consistently going down and they have no moral right to power. Had these parties fought independently like in 2014 and then SS had embraced the congresses it would have been less jarring.

  33. It’s the media that’s creating the hype more than anything else. BJP is useless and only talks shit which people with shit head believe. That’s all I can say

  34. When you say BJP won “only 105” seats in 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, you seem to be unaware of the fact that it contested only 164 seats. 124 seats were left for pre election alliance partner Shav-sena.

    • Not 164 . BJP fought only on 144 seats but still got 105 while SS won only 56. It was a 50-50 seat sharing pact and probably the biggest mistake BJP ever did. If elections are conducted today in MH and BJP fights on all seats alone than they would cross the majority real easy.

  35. It’s one of the unholy alliances of Maha Vikas Aghadi that is looting one of the richest State in the union and being the Commercial Capital of the country with huge finances at it’s disposal is looting the state, country and people and enriching politicians, beauracrats and police. Now it’s this unholy alliance is thrown into dustbin and central rule imposed.

  36. How ignorant you can be? Author writes that “Modi Shah seemed unbeatable and yet BJP won only 105 seats out of 288 in the 2019 assembly polls”. Do you not know that BJP Shivsena seat sharing was 50-50%? So BJP in fact won 105 seats out just 144 seats of its quota, which is a remarkable strike rate for a caste divided state like MH. Shivsena, being BJP’s ally won enough seats (mostly BJP’s votes) so the coalition won the people’s mandate comfortably. But Shivsena backstabbled BJP in greed for power and went to the wolves.

  37. BJP should feel unhappy about the mess that is happening in States like Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand etc., instead of rejoicing over the mess in Maharashtra. With it’s autocratic rule at the Centre and the States being ruled by it, BJP can hardly claim that it only can give sushasan to people.

  38. Nowhere in the article I read a word about corruption and nepotism etc. Call MVA what it is not “bliss of BJP”. We citizens suffer and not BJP.
    MVA is running a corrupt, incompetent and clueless government with sole objective to remain in the power. If the author cannot find out the unbreakable bond between the parties due to which we are suffering – less said about the author is better.

  39. This article is far from truth. There is an anti Gujarati factor in Maha. Udhav is seen more Marathi than Fadnavis. Hold a election today and MVA will get more seats. Last week Sangli and Jalgaon saw non BJP mayors even though BJP was in majority in both places.

  40. MVA government, for all its ineptness and corruption is not the nadir of governance. Perhaps, one should look at two smaller States, Tripura and Uttarakhand. CM of Tripura is well known for making outlandish claims for all that is ancient. The CM of Uttarakhand has covered himself with glory by claiming that India was ruled for 200 years by the Americans! Why did BJP chose someone who has not even studied middle school level India History?

    • Yes, you are right.
      Because few stupid statement are worse than top cop-extortionists asking 100 crores a months, senior citizens being beaten on streets or put in jail for posts against Uddhav and the shocking handling of Corona.

    • You cannot judge teh governance by some out of context quote of CM. You need to see what they are doing. Tripura and Uttarakhand are doing lot better than what is happening in MVA. and we have Sanjay Raut here to win any contest where funny quotes are needed.

  41. I am guessing that if BJP manages to win Bengal and Assam and NDA puts on a good show in Puducherry, MVA is gone. Honestly I don’t think voters would mind. Firstly, the mandate was for NDA. Even then a last minute alliance was formed (not uncommon in India). They just had to govern well. They proved it was a huge ask from them all the while the shiv sena goons went on to threaten anyone who spoke against the seriously incompetent and useless Uddhav Thackeray. Never have i seen a govt do that worse on covid front. Just like those joining BJP would rid you of corruption cases, joining NCP and INC rid Shiv Sena of its communalism. Anyway Shiv Sena still is a goonda party, incapable of ruling, incapable of taking even the slightest of criticism. So if BJP does swoop in and steal MLAs, I don’t think many voters would mind. Good riddance.

    • Shiv Sena is goonda party and Pakistani agents Congress & NCP are worse!! This was at full display when Police supported slaughter of unarmed Palghar Sadhus or planted bombs at Indian industrialist’s door!!

      We wish & hope Raj Thackeray takes hold of this party & allies with the BJP!! The impotent Penguin is in no way capable of protecting Maharashtra, Hindus or the pious name of Shiv!!

  42. The history of multi-party governments has not been much to write home about. The partners are unable to act against each other, the common minimum program, no matter how well drafted remains on paper only.
    In the perception battle the lack of co-ordination starts showing the divisions amongst the participants.

    • We have sent a request letter to Pakistan and another to China to take over the reigns of the Govt as we, the Indians, are not happy with our Govt. We dont deserve to be a Democracy anymore. Some years under them will be a good lesson to us to recognize the benefits of Democracy.

  43. BJP n SHIVSENA won the elections as a coalition. HINDUS voted for them to ensure they would protect HINDUS from RIOTERS AND PROSELYTIZERS. and ensure progressive culture and education and science and prosperity will be delivered by the coalition.

    However personal ambitions of leaders from BJP n SHIVSENA derailed this coalition.

    It’s time for SHIVSENA AND BJP to form government and dump communal elements for their misdeeds.

      What progressive culture are You talking about? You yourself are so filled with Halahala and a regressive mentality.

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