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Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray announces divorce, but will actions match his words?

Uddhav Thackeray's recent decision to schedule a divorce with the BJP reminds us of many idioms, couplets and sayings.

The Shiv Sena chief, for instance, can be accused of trying to have his BJP for now and beat it too in the next election. That, of course, may not be a cakewalk in the next election but it doesn’t stop him from selling the idea to Shiv Sainiks as a political hot cake.

 Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray announces divorce, but will actions match his words?

A file photo of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

Uddhav also reminds us of what Ghalib once said: Bak raha hoon junoon mein kya kya kuchh, kuchh na samjhe khuda kare koi. (How I babble in a state of frenzy. I hope nobody understands anything.)

But, the line that comes to mind first after Uddhav's decision to part ways with the BJP in the next election is something that is quite popular in the Hindi heartland. Loosely translated it means, Babuji preaches others not to eat baingans (brinjals/eggplants), but himself eats pakodas (fritters) stuffed with them. Put simply, he preaches what he doesn’t practice and has the eggplant of hypocrisy on his face.

Pakodas may be in vogue these days as an employment option. But baingans are not. By continuing to eat them in private but asking us to eschew them, Uddhav is showing himself up as a power hungry opportunist, who, as mentioned earlier, not only wants his brinjals, but the BJP cake too.

Uddhav's grouse with the BJP (the aubergine in the tale) is that the prime minister is just flying kites and taking visiting dignitaries to the Sabarmati front instead of Kashmir. After getting himself elected as the party chief, Uddhav's son Aditya as party leader and personal secretary Milind Navrekar as the Shiv Sena party secretary, Uddhav wondered where the promised achche din are? The BJP, ergo, needs to be thrown out, he said.

Aisa hai, we really would have loved to walk down the path shown by Uddhav ji, his son and private secretary and their Sena. But, the problem is we can’t decide whether to follow his words or emulate his deeds. For, in spite of his advice to throw out the BJP, Uddhav's own party is walking behind it, like the kids of Hamlin following the Pied Piper.

Uddhav wants us to throw BJP out. But, he himself has not summoned the courage to walk out of the government in Maharashtra, where his party is the junior partner. Neither has he thrown the BJP out of its alliance that runs the BMC. Uddhav knows without power in the BMC, Shiv Sena would be like a fish out of water. The party's cash supplies would dry up. Its politics of muscle would be dehydrated without liquidity. In the state Assembly, Uddhav knows, the moment he divorces the BJP, Sharad Pawar's NCP would come marching in.

So, as they say, cui bono? Who stands to gain? Obviously, the BJP and the NCP go on a honeymoon while the Sena deals with the post parting pain.

Uddhav is playing the delicate game of holding on to the bird in the hand and dreaming of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the political bush of 2019. He is clinging to the BJP for power today and yet threatening to divorce it for more power tomorrow.

There is, of course, another problem with Uddhav's strategy. Like a novice at the table, he has shown his cards too early. With his notice for eviction almost 18 months in advance, he has given the BJP ample time to put its house in order and plan a life without the Shiv Sena. Shivaji, whose Sena it claims to represent, would have shocked by this amateurish battle strategy. The great Maratha warrior always believed in shock and awe, guerilla tactics, ambushes and catching the enemy by surprise. Uddhav, instead, his placed himself in an open battlefield, bared his artillery and arsenal, months ahead of the battle in 2019 and 2020. While not wanting to be a fish out of power, he has become a sitting duck.

That makes one wonder if Uddhav would regret premature articulation of his strategy. Perhaps he should have followed the golden words said by Pankaj Kapoor in Maqbool: Gillori khaya karo, Miyan, zubaan kaboo main rehti hai. (You should chew a betel leaf, it keeps the tongue in control).

Since he hasn’t, one is reminded of the plight of a batsman on a pitch turning square in Pakistan. Lured by a flighted delivery by Tauseef Ahmed, a batsman jumped out of the crease and went for a six. Instead, he missed the ball and was stumped. This is what the commentator had to say: He came out with the desire to conquer the world. But, when he turned around, he realized he had lost everything.

Since Uddhav's love cricket, pitches and Pakistan, they would know what this means.

Uddhav is shown threatening to let go off the BJP alliance while Devendra Fadnavis is shown asking "when did we ask you to stay?" Cartoon by MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Uddhav is shown threatening to let go off the BJP alliance while Devendra Fadnavis is shown asking "when did we ask you to stay?" Cartoon by MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2018 15:27:17 IST