Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Agadhi MVA) is an unusual combination born out of political necessity rather than ideological synergy. If there is one thing that the three parties – Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress – have in common it is the fact that they all are family-led and have first families whose interests often override all other priorities.
For the first time since coming to power in late November 2019, the MVA might be heading for serious trouble.
In a significant move, Maharastra CM Uddhav Thackeray met PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday (June 8). Interestingly, two top MVA leaders – Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan – were not part of this meeting.
What could this meeting be about?
A bitter battle has been going on between the estranged allies since their break up after Maharashtra Assembly Election in 2019. Uddhav seeking time from the Prime Minister indicates a turn in the relationship presumably brought on by circumstances beyond the beleaguered CM’s control.
Rumours are rife in Mumbai that an ageing Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar is keen to secure his daughter Supriya Sule’s political future by making her the chief minister. He has reportedly been turning up the pressure on Uddhav to agree to the arrangement. On the other hand, Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar is still in the saddle and any such ascension would threaten his primacy in the party.
The battle for succession which has been ongoing for a while, is now at a point where a final decision between the nephew and the daughter must take place.
Meanwhile, the two Anils in the Maharashtra government have caused enough headaches for the MVA.
Anil Deshmukh, caught up in the murky “vasooli” controversy, had to relinquish his ministry and Shiv Sena’s Anil Parab, close to Uddhav, is facing yet another enquiry. Anil Parab’s troubles land straight at the door of the CM.
The timing couldn’t be worse, an already embattled CM now has to fend off serious corruption charges swirling around his key aide.
Does this mean the MVA will disintegrate? It is too early to say and a lot will depend on the meeting between CM Uddhav Thackeray and PM Narendra Modi.
But sources in Maharashtra say that the possibility has never been more real since the MVA came to power.