Maha to alter cash flow, power syndrome

Shivaji Sarkar

The tack of Indian politics can change with the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress take over. The exit of 80-hour-long BJP-‘NCP’ government can change many fortunes. It may not be the end of BJP but it would certainly not be expected to sit quiet either. There could be attempts at creating disturbances. Ambitions and aspirations in the three-party combine are high. So can be desperations. Who would take its advantage time alone would tell.

But that may be a game in the long run. In the short term, it can hit some of the BJP dream projects. At least, fate of three projects hangs in balance. These include the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, Nanar oil refinery and Mumbai metro Aaarey car shed.  The last had raised storm for felling of over thousands of trees. Though SS was part of the Devendra Fadnavis government, its leaders had different opinions. This was reportedly the breaking point of the alliance though they stayed together particularly for the impending assembly polls.

The SS was against the $ 1 trillion bullet train on a number of issues, including its running time. As per SS, the speed was not saving that much of time but was causing a huge drain on finances.  Deepak Kasarkar of SS, who was MoS for finance in the Fadnavis government opposed the train saying it was encroaching on farmers rights. He had even opposed the budgetary provision for the bullet train.

Nanar is not a simple project. Three Indian public sector companies and Saudi Aramco had signed MoU for the Rs 3 lakh crore project. Pleading for the local villagers, their agriculture and fishing, the SS was opposed to the programme

The Aarey metro depot was vociferously opposed by Aditya Thakre, son of Uddhav. The then chief minister Fadnavis rejected his demand saying the Supreme Court had accepted that the car depot was not in a forest area. The Sena’s stand was just not populist. Large projects have many strings and cash destinations attached to it. Except metro, others were central projects and the finance flow was not destined for SS. Then SS was part of the alliance and could not raise their voices so vociferously. Unless a deal is struck, in all likelihood, the SS would now like the supposed cash flows stopped to their rivals. This might change the political permutations and combinations beyond the Maharashtra Assembly.

This could be the beginning of a fund crisis for the BJP or would it launch guerilla warfare to recapture the lost turf. It has a favourable rather pliable governor, who helps in a midnight surgical operation. Its leaders are announcing they would come back as they did in Karnataka. So it is not the end of BJP operations though may be the beginning of strike on its finances by its opponents. Maharashtra is important to hold. The Congress had shown how the state had been a gold mine for it and it helped even form a minority government not only in Maharashtra but even at the centre. These are recent history and BJP remembers it as do other players in the state.

Losing the cash cow may not be easy. But it is common knowledge that one who loses Maharashtra also loses Delhi in due course. Mumbai or the former Bombay controls cash of the country and worships the ruler of Mumbai. It is not easy for BJP at least in the near future to keep control over the money flow. Bombay controls satta to stock market and winners there are not speculators but the controllers of the power chain. The developments may be just the beginning of a change and if not controlled can pave the way to the next elections, may sooner than 2024.

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