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What is delaying Maharashtra political crisis settlement?

Is there some dilemma regarding the fact that the MLAs would return back to the Shiv Sena fold once they enter the assembly for the floor test because parting ways with Shiv Sena or as a matter of fact with Bala Saheb is not only an emotive issue but also puts them into a political tight spot?

Sharbani Banerjee | New Delhi |

Amid the ongoing twist and turns of the Maharashtra political crisis, a single question that everyone needs an answer to is why it is taking so long to reach any settlement. The unending wait is creating more confusion and more questions.

With the Supreme Court breather to Eknath Shinde camp until July 12 to respond to notices for their possible disqualification from assembly membership, a parallel question erupts as to why rebellion Shiv Sena MLAs approached the apex court their leader Eknath Shinde claims to have the support of around 50 MLAs.

The number comfortably qualifies these MLA to be recognized as a new outfit and does qualify for anti-defection law. Why did these MLAs bother to worry about their disqualification when the number justified their defection by the law?  The other obvious question is what is holding Eknath Shinde to present his claim for the floor test to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari?

While the BJP is patiently watching from behind and CM Udhav Thakrey holding the ground firm there are mixed signals coming.

The rebel Shiv Sena MLA who came out of the hotel today after six days claimed that “he is still with Shiv Sena”.

Shinde said, “We are in Shiv Sena and we are taking Shiv Sena forward. There should not be any doubt about it. We will let you know about our further course of action. I will be in Mumbai soon.”

On the claim of Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray that 15 to 20 MLAs had claimed that they had been abducted and had reached out to the party to bring them back to Mumbai from Guwahati, Shinde said that “no MLA has been suppressed” and all are with him of their own will.

“No MLA is suppressed here, everyone here is happy. MLAs are with us. If Shiv Sena says that the MLAs present here are in contact with them, they should reveal the names,” he added.

In the present case, as claimed by the rebel leader Shinde, he can easily approach the governor with his claim for the floor test, which doesn’t seem to be the case. Is there some dilemma regarding the fact that the MLAs would return back to the Shiv Sena fold once they enter the assembly for the floor test because parting ways with Shiv Sena or as a matter of fact with Bala Saheb is not only an emotive issue but also puts them into a politically tight spot?

Is it the ‘Bala Saheb factor’ or the ‘Shiv Sena’ stronghold in Maharashtra which is stopping Shinde or is it something else that is flowing under the current which is delaying the peace deal in Maharashtra?

Shiv Sena Factor

Despite quitting Shiv Sena, Shinde continues to use the party’s name today after coming out of the hotel. He went on to say that “We are still Shiv Sena”. Is it because more than Hindutva, is it the Bala Saheb Thackeray factor that he still wants to bank on?

Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray had also issued a notice against using the name of Bala Saheb in any form by the new faction.

The people in Maharashtra are emotionally associated with Bala Saheb and his ideologies. Snipping ties with Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena could project Shinde and the rebel camp as defectors from Shiv Sena, who betrayed the party that Bala Saheb had formed in Maharashtra.

Besides, the MLAs feel that their long-term political career, which thrived on Shiv Sena and Bala Saheb’s names, would be jeopardized. Since a majority of the Maharashtra vote bank is emotionally connected with Shiv Sena of Bala Saheb, the rebel MLAs might be skeptical of ditching Shiv Sena and going ahead with the Shinde camp, which may find it difficult to have a selling point to the voters.

The Hindutva Factor

The rebel MLAs in the Shinde camp may find their confidence in the Hindutva factor and tread ahead on BJP support and make it their selling point to their voters and use Bala Saheb’s name. Uddhav Thackeray has now written an emotional letter to rebel MLAs appealing them to have a conversation with him.

Uddhav has alleged that the MLAs feel stuck in Guwahati alleging that Shinde has asserted these MLAs and soon they will reach Mumbai and prove the majority in the house.

As per the party insiders, the combo of Shiv Sena with Balasaheb’s strong Hindutva ideologies and Bharatiya Janata Party’s hard Hindutva line fits well for Maharashtra politics and will make a good move together by joining hands. The sources in the Shiv Sena said that since Shiv Sena tied up with Congress and NCP Thackeray moved away from its Hindutva plank with more focus on placating the allies rather than their own legislators.

Many even alleged that Thackeray remained inaccessible most of the time. Deviation from “strong Hindutva” to “soft Hindutva” left many party leaders upset.

Is it this dilemma of ditching ‘brand’ Bala Saheb or “who holds the ‘brand’ Bala Saheb that is pushing the solution of Maharashtra politics?