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How Long Will the People of Maharashtra be Taken for a Ride ?
Rohit Chandavarkar | Thursday, 9 February 2017 AT 08:31 PM IST
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In the ongoing one-upmanship war between coalition partners Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra, the biggest element that is getting misused and fooled is the media. In an age where social media has virtually captured more mind space of the viewer or readers among masses, it is really astonishing how the Sena as well as BJP are still aiming at fooling the people by staging a virtual war against each other without splitting in real terms and sticking to power in the State and Centre.

On Wednesday night, while media’s attention was mainly focused on the suspense unfolding in Chennai, suddenly a barrage of Whatsapp messages broke claiming that Shiv Sena ministers from Maharashtra government are reaching State Chief Minister’s residence late at night and some big development was going to happen. As usual, dozens of camera crews and outdoor broadcasting units rushed to the Chief Minister’s residence at Malabar Hill. Some of the ministers, who were reaching CM’s residence, indicated to the reporters close to them that “some drama was unfolding” so the general expectation was that after a fortnight of discontent between the Sena and the BJP, perhaps the Sena ministers would offer to resign from their cabinet posts.

The ministers reached the Chief Minister’s residence and camera units hung around outside with regional channels predicting all sorts of scenarios developing. After about an hour, the Sena ministers came out and while speaking with members of the media, said that they met the Chief Minister to request him to waive off the loans that are pending with the farmers of Maharashtra! This was a super anti-climax! When some reporters asked a question about why the rumour was spread by Shiv Sena men that their ministers might resign, one of the ministers actually took out a paper from his pocket waved it before the camera and said, “Yes we go around with our resignations in our pockets. We might resign any day”!

The media, which was called unnecessarily to the Chief Minister’s residence where some routine discussion happened late at night, really felt cheated. Its not just the media but the people of Maharashtra who should really feel cheated, given the way politics is unfolding ahead of the municipal and district council polls happening in Maharashtra in two weeks! The Sena and the BJP are now seen fighting tooth and nail against each other in the campaign. BJP indirectly alleges that Sena has amassed huge amount of wealth in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation through corrupt practices while the Sena hits back by saying BJP has an agenda of dividing Maharashtra. If these two parties hate each other so much, why are they sharing power in the same government in Maharashtra and at the Centre? If BJP feels Sena has amassed wealth in the Mumbai corporation, why did BJP participate in the civic body as a partner of the Sena? Neither the Sena nor the BJP will answer these questions.

In the Kalyan Dombivali municipal elections, which happened a while ago, exactly the same drama unfolded of the Shiv Sena and BJP fighting tooth and nail against each other. But after the polls results came out, both realised that they did not have enough numbers so they got back into an alliance and that alliance still stays as they now fight against each other in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and other cities! There is no doubt in the minds of almost all political observers that in Mumbai and other cities too these partners will join hands again after the poll results are declared and they will issue statements saying they have come together to serve the people. The question is how long will be the media and public be taken for a ride in this manner and how long will people tolerate these dramatics in politics? 
 
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