Pawar’s Power Politics

Vedchetan Patil (@vedchetan)

With the advent of Modi wave and the corresponding fall of Congress along with all its allies in Centre, Congress had highly hoped from its forte in Maharashtra. But to the surprise of none, Modi wave was still successful in Maharashtra to desecrate the Congress-NCP led government and establish the saffron band in the Legislative assembly.

Pawar who is known for his brinkmanship and usage of carefully crafted words which are only used to achieve a particular agenda, has long been known for his relations with the leaders of other parties and his tricks to galvanize the cross-party momentum to fulfill his agenda. His loss of Prime Ministerial post, post Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and his break up from Congress post Sonia Gandhi took over the reigns of Congress on the issue of foreign origin, Pawar was always seen as a valuable ally and potential threat by Congress, though on the grounds of ideological equivalence both Congress and NCP continued to be ally both in Center and State of Maharashtra. Long before all, Sharad Pawar had foreseen the rise of Modi and perhaps that is the reason he asked Congress and other allies to not allege or blame Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots as the Supreme Court had given him a clean chit.  It has been long foreseen by Pawar that a condition may arise even in the State of Maharashtra wherein Nationalist Congress Party would be reduced to its lowest and may still paly a crucial role in the Government formation.

Hence much before the 2014 Assembly polls, it was a prevalent gossip that Congress NCP alliance may break away, as Congress retained the Chief Minister’s post and systematically reduced the hold of NCP in State as NCP had accepted the deputy Chief Minister’s post inspite of higher number of seats in Assembly, due to the political arrangement with Congress in Cabinet at Center.

The incumbency factor, the consistent allegations by saffron bay on Congress-NCP alliance of corruption coupled with rise of Modi, gave rebirth to the face led politics which was on the verge of extinction after assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Maharashtra witnessed that even Raj Thakare and Uddhav Thakare publicly expressed their desire to enthrone themselves on the Chief Minister’s post attempting to equate themselves with Modi from Gujarat and his recent triumph in Lok Sabha Polls. Needless to say Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar had long been the aspirant of the crown of Maharashtra.

It was a prevalent gossip that Congress and NCP will fight elections on their own to ascertain their own power in existence. However, to retain the forte of Maharashtra, it was very necessary for Seculars, to ensure that the Saffron alliance breaks, especially when there is Modi wave in the country.

So the calculations were very clear, that Congress-NCP alliance breaks, and Saffron parties remain allied then it was definitely a clear victory for Saffron Bay. Secondly, it was necessary for NCP to politely distance itself from Congress in the wake of public opinion about inability in administration of country by Congress, comparatively any political analyst had never alleged any inability in administration against NCP. As both Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar are known for the administrative and authoritative virtues. The only allegations, which Pawars had to counter was that of corruption. But allegations of corruption are something, which Sharad Pawar is never bothered of and all his critics have been barking to death but till date, couldn’t nudge a single hole neither in his political career nor in his power. Courts are out of question as of now.

Thirdly, to retain power it was also necessary for Sharad Pawar to make this assembly polls most uncertain. Hence, in a situation when Congress-NCP faction broke up and decided to fight elections on their own, and when there was a fair chance of change in regime even in state, it was necessary for Shiv Sena to retain its big brother position as against BJP. Courtesy lesson learnt by NCP from its big brother in Centre. The possibility cannot be ruled out, that Pawar wanted that all four major parties fight elections on their own and so post poll alliance is easier considering the prevailing political scenario. And happily Shiv Sena walked into the Pawar’s trap thinking that it will still be big brother. The Saffron partners parted their way. Shiv Sena known for making any allegations openly against anybody, did attack Modi and performed really bad in the assembly polls and BJP emerged as the single largest party in the State, though with no clear cut mandate to form the government.

Minutes within the election results were out, NCP spokesperson Prafull Patel declared NCP’s unconditional support to BJP.

Now all the pre-poll rumors of NCP-BJP alliance and Pawar’s statements favoring Modi, would make some sense to all political analysts.

So by the split in both the alliances, Pawar’s first plan to make assembly polls uncertain and to prevent clear mandate to saffron party was successful.

So before BJP and NCP could resume talks for government formation, BJP was psychologically ensured that they can still frustrate Shiv Sena to perpetually reduce them to their pony. And on the other hand power hungry Sena went haywire as the opportunity to dismantle Congress-NCP and BJP was lost and it was no longer a big brother to anybody in State. Benevolent statement of Raj Thakare also led the Shiv Sena minister in Center to resign. So again after struggle of decade Shiv Sena an old enemy of Pawar was kept at arm’s length from power. While Shiv Sena was oscillating to and fro from BJP and ministry, Pawar played wise to keep himself away from all controversies and from making any statements in public apart from giving unconditional support to BJP.

In between, some internal political Gyanis also informed the author that Prithviraj Chauhan did offer NCP to support Shiv Sena from outside and keep BJP out of Power. However, Pawar chose to support BJP possibly for following reasons :

1)      Modi is in power in Center and CBI is under his control, hence even if Modi decides to dismantle Ajit Pawar under the allegations of Corruption, he can do so by all possible means.

2)      If BJP government is dependent on Pawar, perhaps there is a fair chance that all investigations will not be conducted with an intention of witch hunting Ajit Pawar and his brigade.

3)      By allowing BJP to retain power, considering the nature of Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sainiks, Uddhav will self destruct himself by showing anxiety for power;

4)      the neutral voters who would have otherwise voted to any other party but voted for BJP under the Modi wave, will realize that BJP has nothing new to offer as they entered into political arrangement with NCP.

5)      If Pawar supports Shiv Sena from outside, the threat of Modi’s CBI  witch hunt remains intact.

Hence, today we are in a position where Pawar is neither in government, nor outside government, he is neither BJP’s enemy nor their friend. He is simply Pawar, who remains in power irrespective of who is sitting in chair of CM or PM and gets done what he wants to be done.

So post assembly polls, Shiv Sena and BJP both destroyed and tarnished their image to certain extent in the eyes of the voters influenced by Modi wave. So now, there is a fair possibility of decrease or reduction of Modi effect as even the vote share of BJP did reduce post Lok Sabha polls.

Another agenda of RSS was to create a Congress mukt Bharat and Congress and NCP mukt Maharashtra. So even though with NCP’s outside support, BJP formed government in Maharashtra, any other party would have retained the post of Leader of Opposition may that be Congress or NCP.

But Pawar was clever enough to not contest for any of those and allowed Shiv Sena to retain the post of Leader of Opposition, thereby creating an illusion in the eyes of all BJP and RSS Bhakts that Maharashtra truly became Congress-NCP mukt as all the major posts including those of CM, Speaker of Legislative Assembly and Leader of Opposition were in the hands of saffron brothers and Congress and NCP would look like homeless kids with no important post in Legislative Assembly.

Looking at the other side, it can be fairly said that Pawar is in absolute control of the new State government and can dismantle this Saffron government anytime he is displeased with their actions.

Reason being, had Shiv Sena not retained the Leader of Opposition, in coming days, anytime Pawar moves a no-confidence motion, the Government would have ran to Thackeray clan for support and ousted Pawar. But now under the amateur politics everybody ran into the trap of Pawar to make this new government a totally dependent entity upon him. Hence whenever Pawar wants the government gets dismantled, as ideally a party retaining the post of Leader of Opposition cannot support government in a No Confidence Motion.

Now yesterday Sharad Pawar made his final statement in the grand plan to his partymen in Alibaug meeting, ‘be prepared for snap polls’.

And today Supriya Sule said, supporting BJP was a wrong decision to which media reported as ‘Confusion in NCP’. But a mature politician would understand that it is NCP which is creating confusion to realign its grip over power.


  1. Excellent Analysis..! Convincing….

  2. BJP’s acceptance of support from NCP is like taking help of a viper, one you can never trust. Moreover, it can never expect to run a stable as well as fully-functional government because as soon as it begins a probe into scams, NCP will definitely distance itself from the so-called support. However, it should be made clear that there is no alliance, as of date, between BJP and NCP. NCP had simply indicated that it would either abstain or vote in favour of the BJP government, a statement, as the author has rightly pointed, they have flip-flopped over numerous times. Now, BJP only has two options, either to stand upto their promises and probe the scams fairly, or be silent on the issue and in the process become a part of corruption that has ruled the Great State for decades. Author is clear and crisp in his explanantion and analysis of the current polical sceanario in Maharahstra. The only thing that seems to be wrong with the author’s view in this article is that he has blantantly adjudged non-BJP parties as secular and BJP as a saffron brigade. A rigorous study of Indian history would reveal that INC is as much a green party as the BJP is saffron, NCP in a manner of speaking appears to be just a step away from adopting Islam’s flag as its own.

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