What the Maharashtra government needs to do to scotch rumors of its imminent demise

Maharashtra is the worst affected state in the country by Covid-19, and Mumbai the worst hit city. On top of Covid-19 is the state’s six-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi government also in trouble? Political speculation has heated up since Rahul Gandhi said yesterday that Congress was “only supporting” the Maharashtra government and was not “the key decision maker”, a statement that is being read as his party trying to distance itself from Covid (mis)management in the state.

Adding further fuel to these speculations was NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s Monday meeting with Governor BS Koshyari. Although afterwards Pawar visited CM Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree, was the first meeting meant to gain bargaining power at the second?

It is true that in the three-legged Maharashtra government Shiv Sena wields disproportionate power, not only with Uddhav Thackeray, someone who has never fought an election, sitting in the chief minister’s chair but his son Aditya, a first time legislator, also being seen by many as de facto number 2. If everywhere the pandemic has exposed pre-existing governance fissures there is no reason for that not to happen in Maharashtra as well.

Just as the Centre is accused of not consulting the states enough even when states are doing the heavy lifting in this health and economic emergency, it is clear that the Shiv Sena’s alliance partners also think that they are being sidelined from decision making. At the end of the day neither Congress nor NCP would be interested in destabilizing the government. They want more say in it and they should get it. Fighting together is fighting better.

Read also: Amid reports of rift in MVA, Maha Speaker says no ’emergency’ or ‘political situation’ in state

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