Editorial

Editorial: Mudslinging in Maharashtra

Not long ago, netas indulged in mudslinging when they were electioneering for Lok Sabha elections in April, thinking it would win them political points and parliamentary seats. The trick is being used again, this time in Maharashtra assembly campaign, though every body knows that a ‘weak prime minister’ knocked down an ‘iron man’ ambitious of taking up former’s job, merely because he was one to respond to mudslinging, not the one to initiate it.

Raj Thackeray, perhaps the staunchest Marathi chauvinist of the era, has been rechristened thrice, of late. To Bal Thackeray, he is ‘Jinnah’ of Maharashtra, actually working for Congress-NCP combine; to his son Uddhav, he is ‘rat’ for the sheer lack of courage and fear of ruling alliance which would encage him like a rat if he dare them. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, the latest entrant to this colourful phrasing, a patent of Thackerays in Maharashtra politics, calls him ‘frog’, out only during monsoon rains.

Apparently, nobody likes Raj. Nobody can, for that matter, if he is not a chauvinist, narrow-minded and mean. Today, he is ideologically averse to all political outfits in Maharashtra and opposition by any of them is understandable, but why mudslinging, this hullaballoo, this specific attention on him, Raj is already sufficiently badly reputed as well as admired for what he does? There’s Lok Sabha elections’ miniature replica here.

Ideally, and going by rationale, this mudslinging should have been between leaders of Congress-NCP combine and BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the two main rivals. But why Raj is their collective target?

Reports suggest that Maharashtra elections might production a hung assembly as well. Exactly this was the fear in April, India was headed for hung parliament, so mudslinging as a show of strength, ability to rule India. Ideally, and going by rationale, this mudslinging should have been between leaders of Congress-NCP combine and BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the two main rivals. But why Raj is their collective target? He’s eating into saffron votes clearly and Congress-NCP alliance is getting crippled with internal rivalry. Both the outfits have no remedies for their maladies and slinging mud on Raj is their way of treating themselves.

Raj is a consensus bad man in politics, no doubt, he deserves not to be in a trade that is about making the future of people and country; but chief minister Ashok Chavan, Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son Uddhav have not only manifested the low level of politics they are willing to degrade to but also shown their foolishness by unnecessarily focusing on someone for whom nobody even remotely predicts victory in elections.

Abstinence from mudslinging, given Shiv Sena’s track record and current poll prospects, is not expected from Bal Thackeray and Uddhav. However, Congress, ahead of all hitherto, seems to have not learnt its lesson from LK Advani’s big-mouthedess that helped Manmohan Singh.

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