Breaking up the Shiv Sena

When Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar’s nephew, was made Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, I had much to say about it, both in my column which appears Wednesdays in the Mumbai edition of the Hindustan Times and on my blog here.

As I pontificated about it to my friends, one of them told me, “Oh, Ajit’s there for some break-ups. He was always the first among equals in the Nationalist Congress Party. But he does not have the capacity to build. He’s there only to break wile his uncle builds. So he’s been duly authorised for the purpose.’’

Of course, my friend explained to me at length what he meant and I can see now a few weeks later that he was absolutely right.

Ajit can never expand the NCP – that job is still clearly just Sharad Pawar’s. But he certainly seems to be facilitating a build up by the Maratha warlord. The NCP has not been growing in the past few years and at the moment is confined to Western Maharashtra. The Maratha vote is pretty evenly split between the Congress and the NCP and then between the Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena-BJP on the other side.

The surreptitious removal of a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s teacher Dadoji Konddeo from prominent display in Pune and the resolution by the Pune Municipal Corporation to replace it with a statue of Shivaji’s father Shahaji was entirely guided by Ajit Pawar.

And the Shiv Sena, the original (self-appointed) custodian of the Shivaji legacy, fell right into the trap. The battle was first seen as one between Marathas and Brahmins (Dadoji Konddeo, in the best traditions of ancient gurus was Brahmin, after all), but it was soon clear that Ajit was essentially trying to break up the Sena’s core base of those who identify with the Maratha warrior king and thus, by extension, with the Shiv Sena.

Apart from the fiasco of the taped conversation between a close aide of Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray and a local Sena leader that had people in both jitters and titters, the Sena soon realised that it was more than just loyalties that Ajit pawar was now attempting to break up.

For, in just over a week, he had pulled off another breakup – by drawing a committed Sena leader, Kiran Pawaskar, to the NCP. And Pawaskar brings to the NCP something that is again core to the Sena support base – workers in the aviation sector where so far the Sena has had a very strong trade union.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested for years that Bal Thackeray and Sharad Pawar have had a pact for years – that Pawar will look out for Thackeray’s son, Uddhav, who has been under severe attack from his cousin Raj and former Shiv Sainiks like Narayan Rane who have threatened to wipe out the Sena voter base since they quit their original party. But what neither Raj nor Rane could achieve, Ajit seems to have done with ease and far more intelligence.

I do not think Uddhav is up to matching Ajit’s skills in this regard and the threat is very real. It is obvious to the NCP that it cannot eat further into the Congress base and the BJP’s vote bank is a strict no-no. The only fall back they have is the Marathi asmita (pride) vote bank that has been the Sena’s core for over 40 years and there seems to be no one left in that party to intercept the NCP’s moves and nip them in the bud.

For Ajit this is a make or break battle – he knows he is unacceptable as the supreme leader to many in the NCP. But if his breakup activities help to expand the NCP’s reach across Maharashtra, he might just gain an edge wherein other hostile NCP colleagues would not dare raise a voice against him (today they all say, sotto voce and rather contemptuously, that all he has going for him is the fact that he is Sharad Pawar’s nephew).

Such subtleties, though, are beyond the Thackerays — they are far simpler and less nuanced than the Pawars. So far as Balasaheb goes, a promise given is a promise kept. Too bad that the promise this time was given by Sharad Pawar – who always breaks every promise made, even to his mentors.

What’s more, he also breaks parties — usually his own. This time, though, he seems determined to break up the Shiv Sena.

Do Balasaheb and Uddhav, then, have a chance at all against this break-up duo?

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  • MS Joshi

    THis is really stupid analysis. Ajit pawar is no match for Shiv Sena.


    Ganesh S Reply:

    It is NOT a stupid analysis.It is a brilliant analysis.In fact this journalist seems to be one who understands the Pawar politics fully.If Shiv Sena does not understand this that is its problem.It is an open secret in Maharashtra that whether when he was in Congress or in NCP,Pawar always “managed” Shiv Sena.This time,Sena seems to be coming in the way of the survival instincts of his nephew.Shiv Shahi – the Shiv Sena version that is – let us face the facts is now limited to only a few taxis burnt,few offices vandalised or few snarling statements issued.The old Tiger should realise that each growl of his is now a meaow.This is what happens to political parties if they dont re invent themselves.It is a lesson which Shiv Sena is unwilling to learn.By the way is BJP learning this lesson ? Answer lies in 2014


  • Ramesh Lahoti

    No harm will be done, if Shiv Sena and Navinirman remain in the archives of Maharashtra because they should have been there long, long ago. Sadly, decent Maharashtrians have fallen into the trap of these notorious pack of Hoodlums. They have strangely survived only on violence creation. Everybody knows the Thackerays are a pack of cowards and only instigate good-for-nothing jobless youth to be in the limelight. They have no policy and no programs. Raj is the best example. He from day one has been the violence personified. He threatens to use the MNS way have teaching. What does that mean? They mean Mean, Notorious and Stupid we are and can be, so better surrender to our Diktats. Oh, yes. They have all learnt it from “Mein Kampf” where the brown and black shirts entered with violence and destroyed a cultured country. The politicians of all hues in Maharashtra have followed this “Maharathi Manos” and destroyed this State totally with zero morals. Today the whole State is a cess pool of corruption, rot and disgust.


  • MuraleeDharan Raghavan

    I don’t understand your comparing Ajit Pawar with the ‘Tiger’ Balasaheb Thackeray, who roars at his age of 85.
    It would be like comparing, Dr Subramanian Swamy with Rahul Gandhi.


  • Kunal

    I have no views on this analysis, but I can sadly say that Maharashtra has no longer the leaders like Yashwantrao Chavan of the recent past.

    What Maharashtra needs is industrialisation, not politics. Fortunately having a head start in the country has saved the state from not being the next Bihar, but other states will soon pass us, if the political leaders dont stand up and put the state first.


  • ashok

    If the NCP had focused on providing good governance over the last decade, these breaking games may not have been necessary.


    Deepak Dalvi Reply:

    Sorry. NCP is not providing or could provide good governance.
    They provided ‘goonda governance’ and will try to implement Dawood Agenda (I mean ISI) through D’s close friend and godfather of these self-styled ‘Rashtra-Wadi’s’ who are non other than the Dawood gangsters.


  • ram autar

    Brahminism is a cultural octopus that kills its victims without causing any pain or injury. It quietly embraced Urdu, once the language of a major portion of India, and finally killed it.

    Today, what is spoken in the cow belt is Urdu but called Hindi. What is called as Hindi film is nothing but Urdu film.

    Bangalore: Eminent Urdu writer Waris Alvi said on March 6 that the number of Urdu writers from the Hindu and Sikh communities had dwindled. He regretted that the Urdu language was slowly being confined to Muslims and Islam alone.

    Addressing national seminar on Urdu organised by Central Sahitya Academy and Karnataka Urdu Academy here, he recalled with nostalgia the inspiration the Urdu language had given to various nationalist movements. “It used to serve as an oxygen mask for various movements, including nationalist ones”, he said.

    He recalled the contribution of writers like Rajinder Singh Bedi, Krishan Chand and Premchand, who reflected Indian culture in Urdu works.

    The large number of Hindu and Sikh Urdu writers had enriched the language unlike the present day Urdu literature, which is predominantly by Muslims, he said. (Hindu March 7, 2009).

    Urdu is not the only victim of Brahminical octopus. Ayur Vidya, the science of longevity brought to India by Ezhavas from Lanka is renamed Ayurveda. Yoga, the ancient Dravidian or Adi-Dravida art, is appropriated into Hinduism.

    The famous Mughalai food of the Muslims, is renamed “Punjabi food”. Yakshagana of Karnataka and Kathakali of Kerala, essentially the dance-drama of the local population were swallowed by Brahminism by making it a propaganda media to popularise their **** and bull stories called puranas.

    History subverted: History itself has been subverted. The ferocious anti-Brahmin Jainism and Budhism were swallowed by the octopus.

    Even a giant like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar did not even know or hear the Lotus Sutra in which Budha propounded his famous Shaku Buku, martial art theory to fight and finish the Brahminical enemies.

    Budha himself was going round with sword in hand killing the enemies.

    Brahminical people killed Budhism and depicted the ferocious fighting Budha as a cross-legged sadhu with closed eyes under eternal contemplation. Brahminism did not spare anything that remotely challenged its poisonous values. This is called Indianisation, the other name for Brahminisation.