Tuesday, Aug 09, 2022

Democracy Affront

For now Deshmukh is safe, but faultlines have opened up. More on the Crisis.

Democracy Affront Atul Loke

It was a fitting end to a sordid political farce. The Congress-NCP coalition government, headed by Vilasrao Deshmukh, scraped through the confidence vote in Maharashtra after two weeks of the worst kind of political huckstering the state has ever seen. Minutes after the government's victory was announced in the assembly on June 13, mobs supporting the ruling coalition and the Shiv Sena went on a rampage, barely a hundred metres from the state secretariat. Throwing stones and tube lights at each other, the hooligans attacked the homes of Sena leader Narayan Rane and NCP leader Vasant Davkhare. By afternoon, Shiv Sainiks had burnt the car of Independent MLA Hitendra Thakur, who had been dithering between the rival camps but finally cast his vote for the government.

Although the crisis has been averted for now, Deshmukh's problems are far from over. Capitalising on the Congress high command's disappointment with his ineptitude in handling the crisis, his detractors within the party have begun a whisper campaign against him.