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Fadnavis, the biggest loser in MNS-ADHM row

By Neeta Kolhatkar
October 28, 2016 12:11 IST
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Devendra Fadnavis'Devendra Fadnavis' brokering the deal between the MNS and the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil raises questions about the chief minister's effectiveness,' says Neeta Kolhatkar.

We live in strange times.

Last week, the chief minister of a state has sent a strong message to citizens that he cannot ensure law and order.

This is a huge failure on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' part.

Fadnavis succumbed to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray's tactics during the MNS agitation against the employment of Pakistani actors in Bollywood films.

The MNS has only one member in the Maharashtra assembly and is likely to face a near rout in the coming civic elections in the state.

This was not a deterrent for Fadnavis who seems to have revived Raj Thackeray's moribund political career and accorded him the stature of a quasi-judicial authority, who can dictate the price of patriotism.

Here, I must bring in Karl Marx, who said, 'Nothing can have value without being an object of utility.'

Raj Thackeray has discovered the utility of disruption and Fadnavis may have helped him.

Till the anti-Pakistan artiste agitation, it was Raj's cousin and political rival Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena president, who faced flak.

The Sena newspaper Saamna had taken a perverted view of the Maratha-led Muka Morcha by publishing what was seen as a derogatory cartoon.

It had put Saamna, the Sena, and Uddhav in the line of fire.

Uddhav was already facing flak for the Sena's failure in addressing civic issues in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, which his party has headed for over 19 years.

The pathetic conditions of Mumbai's roads led the Bombay high court to slam civic officials and municipal corporators for their indifference.

The MNS aggressively took on municipal engineers and officials, which brought the MNS some applause from citizens who thought the Shiv Sena had let them down.

When the MNS began its anti-Pakistan campaign, Mumbaikars and others, swayed by patriotism, backed its actions.

Meanwhile, relations soured further between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, who rule Maharashtra in a coalition.

Uddhav criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking credit for the surgical strikes against terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Fadnavis thought the MNS' anti-Pakistan actors campaign was an excellent opportunity to pit one cousin (Raj) against the other (Uddhav), who despite being an ally acted like an Opposition leader by constantly questioning Fadnavis and Modi's actions.

Fadnavis, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and other BJP leaders are keen to ditch the Shiv Sena before the coming civic polls. These BJP leaders believe the party can win the civic elections on its own.

Fadnavis' brokering the deal between the MNS and the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil raises questions about the chief minister's effectiveness and his commitment to maintaining law and order. Fadnavis is also Maharashtra's home minister.

Many question Fadnavis' failure to read Raj Thackeray's utility value and his total lack of understanding of the changed political equations.

Fadnavis -- who set out to clip Uddhav's wings by backing his estranged cousin -- may ironically have bettered Uddhav Thackeray's prospects when his and the Shiv Sena's political stock was on the decline.

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