What the MVA crisis tells us - Hindustan Times
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What the MVA crisis tells us

ByHT Editorial
Jun 23, 2022 09:37 PM IST

The fragility of the unnatural alliance points to larger challenges facing parties in fighting the BJP

Whichever way the ongoing saga in Maharashtra turns out – as of this writing, it is disadvantage Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and Uddhav Thackeray, but there’s no telling how things turn out – there are key learnings in it for all political parties. The most important of these is the nature of unnatural alliances such as the MVA, the partnership of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Congress that has governed Maharashtra since November 2019. These will remain unnatural and, as a result, fragile, with the widely differing ideologies of the parties creating strife and dissension within each (as it has in the case of the Shiv Sena). For months now, the perception has been that with chief minister Thackeray’s ill health, the NCP has been running the government, much to the discomfiture of many senior leaders of the Shiv Sena, who were already chafing at being asked to curb their natural tendencies (a letter doing the rounds speaks of an aborted visit to Ayodhya where a Ram temple is coming up) for fear that these could offend the two other partners of the alliance.

Maharashtra rebel leader Eknath Shinde. (ANI) PREMIUM
Maharashtra rebel leader Eknath Shinde. (ANI)

At a time when there is talk of a united Opposition taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2024, the events in Maharashtra underline the challenges involved. The fragility of the MVA was evident during the Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections (when it won fewer seats than its numbers indicated) – and now it looks like only a miracle can keep the alliance in power. But Mr Thackeray faces a bigger challenge (than keeping the government afloat), which, depending on how events play out over the next few days, can take one of several forms. He will have to try and keep the Sena intact. Failing that, he will have to try and establish that his faction is the actual Shiv Sena. As things stand, a protracted battle before the Election Commission and in the courts, isn’t out of the question (there is already talk of many of the Sena’s Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs supporting the faction led by Eknath Shinde). Again, as things stand, Mr Thackeray appears willing to sacrifice the MVA should that save the Sena.

While that may just be a negotiating stance in this case, it is also the real problem of unnatural combinations, especially one where one or some or all of the constituent parties are strongly ideology-driven – at some point, a choice may have to be made between the survival of one (or more) of the parties and that of the alliance. And that’s a no-brainer.

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