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Elgaar Parishad probe, NPR and MVA government’s state of confusion

The three partners in the ruling coalition are not on the same page when it comes to two issues that are haunting them: Probe into Bhima-Koregaon violence/Elgar Parishad case and CAA, NRC-NPR tangle

Updated: Feb 18, 2020 00:44 IST

By Shailesh Gaikwad, Hindustan Times

NCP chief Sharad Pawar publicly expressed his unhappiness over CM’s decision to hand over the Elgar Parishad probe to the Centre’s NIA (HT PHOTO)

The Uddhav Thackeray led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is now becoming known for internal contradictions within it.

When the government was formed in an unexpected manner, the first question that was asked whether it would run successfully since its constituents were ideologically rivals: NCP-Congress on one side and Shiv Sena on the other? Then, the three parties were quick to reply that their government would run on a common minimum programme and as such the contentious issues won’t derail it. The question, however, remains unsolved, if one looks at the developments in the past few days. The three partners in the ruling coalition are not on the same page when it comes to two issues that are haunting them: Probe into Bhima-Koregaon violence/Elgar Parishad case and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)-the National Register of Citizens (NRC)-the National Population Register (NPR) tangle.

Last week, NCP chief Sharad Pawar publicly expressed his unhappiness over Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s decision to hand over the Elgar Parishad probe to the Centre’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). Pawar’s remarks came a day after his party colleague and state home minister Anil Deshmukh said Thackeray overruled his suggestion that the state government should oppose the Centre’s decision to take over the probe from Pune police. On Monday, the NCP said the government will conduct its own probe by forming a special investigation team. Since the home department is with the NCP, the party will push for the same but will Thackeray agree for the same? The chief minister has not commented anything on this issue so far, considering the fact that his government’s existence depends on NCP-Congress, he will probably give his consent for an SIT probe or that’s what the two parties believe.

But then, the Elgar Parishad case is not the only issue that has irked NCP-Congress. The two parties are also opposed to the CAA-NRC on which Thackeray’s stand is ambiguous. The latest addition to this is the beginning of the procedure for the Census and NPR. While the Congress is opposing the NPR, the NCP would give it conditional approval. The Shiv Sena is not keen to oppose the NPR. The state administration has not got any clear direction from the ruling parties as there is no unanimity between the three partners as of now.



So, why the three partners are speaking in different languages instead of sorting out their differences?

Insiders say the three partners understand that each of them has certain sections of the voters to cater to. While NCP-Congress have an almost similar support base, it is an altogether different case when it comes to the Shiv Sena. The party’s supporters have a chunk of voters tilted towards Hindutva politics. This section is unhappy with the Sena for joining hands with Congress and NCP to form the government. The Sena leadership does not want to change its stand on certain issues that would antagonise this section. It is also wary of losing this support base to the BJP or Raj Thackeray’s MNS. As such, Thackeray is either showing his unwillingness to certain decisions or showing that he is taking decisions on his terms. The question is: How long such a state of confusion will continue? A confused support base could be as unstable as angry supporters.

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