Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar along with his daughter, party MP Supriya Sule.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar along with his daughter, party MP Supriya Sule.
PTI Photo

The formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) -- an unlikely alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) -- is heading towards completion of a year in office. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had taken oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister on November 28, 2019. NCP leader Ajit Pawar became his deputy, while Congress bagged a few ministerial seats.

However, the high political drama which took place before the government formation was unprecedented. For the uninitiated, Shiv Sena broke ties with the BJP after the results of the Assembly elections were declared. Both the parties were hell-bent on the chief ministerial post and neither of them budged.

Even after the BJP had emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats, the post-poll alliance of Shiv Sena (56 seats), NCP (54 seats) and Congress (44 seats) took the cake.

Meanwhile, this political thriller had more twists than any 'Race' movie. As the deliberations between the three parties had reached the final stage, in an overnight coup, Ajit Pawar hopped over to the BJP camp to aid Devendra Fadnavis take oath for his second consecutive term as Maharashtra CM on November 23. However, Ajit Pawar's alliance with BJP was shortlived as almost all the MLAs backing him moved to Sharad Pawar's camp. He resigned on November 26, following which Fadnavis also threw in the towel, resulting into the collapse of the government that lasted for only 80 hours.

Amid high drama, many believed that it was master politician Sharad Pawar's idea to ally with the BJP. There were also reports of Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule a ministerial post in the Union Cabinet. However, the NCP chief rubbished the reports.

Now, Priyam Gandhi, author of 'Trading Power: The Inside Story of How the People’s Mandate was Betrayed in the 2019 Maharashtra Election', has in her book claimed that it was Pawar's dream to make Sule the first woman Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Pawar realised that if the MVA government stays in the state, this dream is likely to come true and that is the reason he chose to go with Shiv Sena and Congress, and not the BJP, wrote the author.

In an interview, Gandhi also claimed that Pawar had indicated his readiness to support the BJP, however, he changed his mind. She even claimed that a meeting had taken place between Amit Shah, Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis at the Union Home Minister's residence.

"Pawar wants to preserve his legacy," an NCP leader conveyed this message to Devendra Fadnavis' office and thus, MVA was formed and Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister.

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Free Press Journal