Maharashtra government, administration and the police have come to a tipping point not only due to work pressure from COVID19, but also due to the tussle between CM Uddhav Thackeray and his crafty 'Allies'. Resultantly, hardly anyone knows as to who is calling the shots and who is taking orders as the state suffers.
- Devidas Deshpande
There is a Spanish proverb - trouble will rain on those who are already wet. Anyone wishing to experience this saying may very well take a look at the situation of present Maharashtra government. Basically, the government is at its wit's end fighting a global crisis like Corona. On the one hand, the number of Corona positive persons and the number of victims is increasing and getting deadlier each day. Specialists in the medical sector are making all sorts of frightening prophecies. The administration and the police have come to the tipping point because of the work pressure. On the other hand, the tussle between a ‘balanced’ Chief Minister of the state, Uddhav Thackeray, and his crafty 'Allies', are far from over. Hardly anyone knows as to who is calling the shots and who is taking orders.
The most recent case in point is the case of promoters of DHFL. The offenses against them were registered at the Mahabaleshwar Police Station under various sections of Disaster Management Act 2005, Prevention of Epidemic Act 1897 and Maharashtra Covid-19 Remedies 2020 measures.
The case goes like this, The lockdown is in force in the state and ordinary people are prohibited from leaving their homes. Those doing menial jobs are in tatters. However, they all have accepted the situation respecting the law of the land. Yet, the law was bended to benefit a rogue millionaire and that too with the consent of senior babus in the government. Even more serious is that the family members in question are accused of Yes Bank scam. What more could be damaging for the government?
Since the curfew is imposed in Maharashtra and Section 144 is in effect, entry in the Satara district is barred from as per the orders of the district collector. Yet, a picnic party of full 23 individuals, including Kapil Wadhwan, Aruna Wadhwan, Vanita Wadhwan, Tina Wadhwan and others, violated these orders by committing negligent and hazardous act. They had no family or medical urgency visit Mahabaleshwar. Yet, these individuals moved freely enabled by a letter from Principal Secretary Amitabh Gupta.
State's Home Minister Anil Deshmukh announced that Gupta was sent on compulsory leave pending an inquiry against him. But this was a classic example of adage, “Boond se gai who haud se nahi aati”. (The respect lost due to a drop cannot be re-earned by tank). These individuals risked not only their own lives but posed a threat to others as well. One has to cross four districts namely Navi Mumbai, Raigad, Pune and Satara to reach to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai. Lockdown is underway in all four districts. Nevertheless, the Wadhwan and his friends were given free access because they were convinced that there was no rule of law in the state.
Earlier to this, the government was on back foot as a tea seller was found Corona positive near the CM's bungalow. The source of the Chinese virus was found just at a stone’s throw away from Matoshree, literally proving the saying' darkness under the lamp'and one more item was added to already long list of embarrassments. Then the formality of quarantining the vicinity of Matoshree was duely completed.
One more glaring example of the disarray. This week, a letter or press note written on the letterhead of Home Minister Deshmukh was circulated on the social media for some time. Some folks working in the media for 'liberal' parties claimed that it was sent to them from the minister's office. Some media houses claimed contrarily that the letter was false or fabricated. Thus, the authenticity of the letter was shrouded in mystery. The letter makes a bold charge that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval was responsible for the Markaz case in Delhi.
Let us forget that the letter appears to be false at first glance itself. Going by its language, it does not appear to be a government or a formal communication. It's written in a simple and casual language. The question it raises, however, is if this letter is fabricated or manipu, then it is a serious crime and if this crime happens in the case of a Home Minister, it assumed even more gravity. However, neither Deshmukh nor his boss, CM Thackeray, felt any need to give an explanation. The confusion about this letter still persists.
Another such case is the availability of food grain. The Central Government provided grain sufficient for three months so that common people would not face any difficulty during the lockdown. However, the state government did not pass it to people. Actually, the central government had given clear orders to give all grains for 3 months free of cost and at one go. About 90 per cent of it was to be given to Maharashtra and the central ministers had made this amply clear. However, the fair price shops in the state wore deserted look. When former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis raised question over this, the Congress spokesperson asked obstinately whether Fadnavis wanted his name to be included in the list of beneficiaries.
As if this was not enough, state's Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad showed his true colours and added to the 'glory' of Maharashtra Development Alliance government. He showcased a kind of goondaism which was seen once in Bihar and till recently in Uttar Pradesh. This sent all those who wore liberalism on their sleeves and swore by democracy and constitution into hibernation. An engineer from Thane was picked up the police on the pretext of inquiry and taken to Awhad's bungalow where he was beaten black and blue by policemen and goons. Awhad gave to the public, who were too frightened to step out due to lockdown, a glimpse of terror that 'this also can happen'. Even after this much mess, the CM who glorified himself with pre-paid epithets of 'excellent CM', 'good administrator' and 'moderate leadership' etc. didn't budge.
Another example was set by Sharad Pawar, the backseat driver of the government and chief of Nationalist Congress Party. The number of Corona positives which was decreasing due to the lockdown suddenly started rising due to the disaster called Markaz. When the media started asking questions on it, Pawar asked 'Do we need to repeatedly show the visuals of Markaz in Delhi?' Even before the echoes of that question subsided, three persons beat the on duty police personnel in Aurangabad. The reason? The police had asked them why they were roaming outdoor and that too triple seat. Significantly, some police personnel remained onlookers even as the traffic police was being beaten. Yet, the women police strongly opposed these goons. Police arrested Sheikh Farooq Sheikh Kadar and Sheikh Shahrukh Sheikh Farooq in this regard and third individual was let off after warning for being a minor. The Home Minister has maintained a stoic silence even in this case!
All these incidents have occurred even as the curfew was in force in the country and the state. They would have been just as serious in other times, but they could be understandable. However, they assume far more seriousness as they took place when there is emergency-like situation. These incidents depict where the priorities of the rulers are. Those who came to power forcefully have failed to grasp the essence of governance. One who was delighted for being Chief Minister failed to realise when he started to behave like a loser. Therefore Thackeray is forced to appear on FB live occasionally and kill time by asking childish questions. This is what they call chaotic State and clueless King!