National Politics

Three rallies in Maharashtra on Dussehra to set the tone for Lok Sabha polls


Three rallies in Maharashtra on Dussehra to set the tone for Lok Sabha polls

Mumbai: Three important rallies in Maharashtra on an auspicious Dussehra day to set the tone for the Lok Sabha elections. Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray will hold the traditional Dussehra rally, the second after the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government at the Shivaji Park, while Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena, in a bid to avoid confrontation, withdrew its claim on Shivaji Park and has organized a rally at Azad Maidan.

Moreover, a former minister and BJP national secretary Pankaja Munde, who is sulking for the party’s neglect and humiliation, will address a rally at the Bhagwan Garh in Ahmednagar district. Both Shiv Sena factions have released teasers for their rallies taking a dig at each other.  Shiv Sena UBT teaser makes a mention of One Leader One Thought One Ground while the Eknath Shinde-led party has countered it with a tagline One Principle, Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva, and Sea Supreme’s discipleship.

The timing of these rallies is important when both Thackeray and Shinde factions are engaged in a verbal duel over their claims on the Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy while Pankaja, who took a month break from active politics for self-introspection and religious rituals, is expected to release her future course of action.

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Moreover, these rallies coincided with a call given by pro-Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange-Patil who has declared that he will not relent as he will go on indefinite strike saying either a victory procession or his funeral will be taken out. In this part, similar demands are being made by Dhangar and Muslim communities while OBCs and Tribals have warned the state government not to touch their quotas to provide reservations to the Marathas and Dhangar respectively.

On top of it, these rallies are taking place when the fate of the MahaYuti government hangs in the balance as the series of disqualification petitions filed by Shiv Sena UBT, Eknath Shinde-led party, Sharad Pawar led NCP and Ajit Pawar led party will come up for hearing before the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker, the Election Commission of India and the Supreme Court.

As far as Shiv Sena UBT is concerned, the party is determined to encash sympathy and support to the party chief Uddhav Thackeray, and exploit growing dissent against the MahaYuti government. Uddhav, who has cordial relations with Sharad Pawar-led NCP and Congress, has already joined hands with the Sambhaji Brigade and reunited with the socialists in a bid to put up a strong non-BJP front in Maharashtra. Further, Uddhav has been stepping up attacks against the BJP, PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for engineering split in the Shiv Sena and NCP to grant power and also for belittling the importance of Maharashtra.

Uddhav is expected to fire a fresh salvo against BJP, his former confidant Eknath Shinde, and also the present deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar for running a government for political gains while neglecting the farmers, working class, women, and youth. Uddhav is likely to give a fresh challenge to the MahaYuti government to hold elections for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation and 14 other civic bodies and other local bodies which are due in the last two to three years.

On his part, Eknath Shinde is likely to target his former boss Uddhav for sacrificing Hindutva by joining hands with NCP and Congress and now with socialists. Shinde, who has succeeded in wooing over 60 former corporators to his side, has already said that the people will pull off the fake Hindutva masks of such persons (Uddhav Thackeray) in the upcoming elections,”No matter how much you try, it is impossible to defeat Narendra Modi. In the elections, people will show you your place. Modiji will win the 2024 with a record number of seats.’’ Shinde in his speech will list out the achievements of the state government and further plans so that Maharashtra becomes a trillion-dollar economy.

Shinde hopes to increase his outreach with the voters along with his ally BJP and Ajit Pawar-led NCP by showcasing a slew of developmental projects being undertaken and proposed in the run-up to the general elections. However, he faces the big challenge of pacifying Manoj Jarange Patil and the pro-Maratha activists as the state government has a limited role in ensuring Maratha reservation.

In the case of Pankaja Munde who has recently announced she has no plans to do any experiment but to continue with BJP. However, she declared that she should not confront a situation to take a final call (about whether or not to stay with the BJP). On her neglect in the party’s decision-making and functioning, Pankaja, who is the eldest daughter of former union minister and veteran BJP leader, Gopinath Munde, has said that if this is the feeling in the minds of party followers and community leaders (she comes from a Vanjani community) then it needs to be cleared by the party.

Despite BJP’s alliance with Ajit Pawar-led NCP and its induction in the government, Pankaja has made it amply clear that she will not leave her claim over the Parli assembly seat which she lost to her cousin Dhananjay Munde who is the agriculture minister from Ajit Pawar led NCP in the state cabinet. She has scoffed at reports about joining Shiv Sena UBT but she is certainly not in a mood to tolerate her neglect but work in the BJP on her own terms.

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