Sharad Pawar’s finest hour!
A leader of unmatched character and why, even moral fibre at a time of such a serious crisis situation!

Maharashtra developments, by any reckoning, is a watershed moment in the way the incumbent Central government demonstrated its new governing principles and strategies. The pre-dawn coup and the swift movements of exchanges of ideas and conspiracies and actions proved that this would remain a special chapter in the Modi governance methods. Politics is a ruthless game of power and it looks we in India have reached a stage in the practice of politics that when it comes to grabbing power we don’t care for any delicate negotiations but only swift actions and the players get mad instantaneously. That only can explain what role Ajit Pawar played.

May be the junior Pawar at least proved and he succeeded by getting his name deleted from the list of accused in the ED case and this would also remain one more stratagems in the new power games very likely to be picked up by those caught by ED summons and IT raids! But what the more gravitas side is the way the crisis emerged and how the challenges posed by the veterans, we needn’t name them, let them by god’s grace remain concealed! The very large issues and the fundamental principles of playing the democratic game is that politics is much more serious than what the current players have understood. Do we care for any serious principles, ethics, honour, dignity, integrity and honesty and ultimately truth?

These questions would nag the conscience of everyone in the country. Thank god, the world is now more integrated and India can’t escape from the critical scrutiny of the outside world. Already as the controversial NRC, CAB bills are being debated in the Rajya Sabha and already passed in the Lok Sabha, thanks to the brute majority in the LS.

The US State Federal Commission Panel on Religious Freedoms(USCIRF) had warned that it would impose sanctions on the Home Ministers and other leaders! Already also we see picture of the US Congress House Committee with Nancy Pelosi presiding over the impeachment against the incumbent President! Also on the same page is the Myanmar head of state, Aung San Sun Kyi, sitting at the UN International Court of Justice over her government’s record of genocide.

So, let us all know that the world today is changing fast. Friends are no more friends forever, nor enemies remain enemies. Luckily it is comforting to realise that the world is changing and changing for the good! Leaving aside other issues and controversies, the new BJP government in 2014 and again later in 2019,if we see things in a fair and objective manner, very radical changes took place in the Indian polity. But surprisingly, we started seeing some very fast and controversial actions etc.

The J&K step proved very controversial and as we write the senior leaders of the State are still under detention. How this event will play out is anybody’s guess. Also there are many other controversies. Also, the series of State elections where we saw that despite the BJP not getting majority seats, the BJP managed to form government. The last in the series of ‘runs’ is the Maharashtra drama which played out in an altogether contradictory manner.

Is this all governance about? People wondered! Why even the BJP cadre and the BJP allies were taken by surprise. Yes this is only a mild form of a new political adventurism that didn’t pay off. Finally!

There came about the Maharashtra leader, the most experienced of them all, a father figure, Sharad Pawar who at 79 proved himself as a matchless warrior who ditched the very BJP party at its cunning best! Sharad Pawar is undoubtedly the man of the hour, the man of destiny who save India and its hoary institutions. We needn’t go into the details of what happened once more.

Sharad Pawar is too experienced a leader who knew the very practical politics on the palm of his hand and he went about bringing together the three partners, NCP, Shiv Sena and the Congress.

The Shiv Sena is another phenomenon in Maharashtra politics. As the Dravidian parties in the South proved, they are all neither secular parties nor otherwise any doctrinaire outfits, they all arose out of some particular narrow, regional sentiments and they remain so till this day. As for Shiv Sena it somehow felt slighted and though didn’t have the numbers felt their pride is at stake and so they staked claim for ruling the State. Things, as they say fell in place at the right moment and the man who could play his cards close to his chest and make this happen was none other than Sharad Pawar.

Now, as for Sharad Pawar, Vadamalai Media knows him, from the 1980s during which period we used to travel to Mumbai often. I had the good fortune to meet him many times and other leaders (Vasanth Dada Patil, Shalinitai Patil, A.R.Antulay, S.B.Chavan and others). We got to know Pawar more closely as we were interested in agriculture, especially when he was the Leader of the Opposition. He was the leader of the PDP party when it replaced the great Vasanth Dada Patil.

Maratha people for the South Indians seem a very gentle race and very generous minded and all these qualities and the great Maratha history give the people a special flavour of valour and a historic role in national affairs. Once Pawar invited me to the party office and entertained me for lunch and in during lunch I got to know of the great champion of agriculture when he explained to me at some length about the agri development work he was doing in his home town of Baramati.

So, our relationship blossomed as we at Vadamalai were engaged in building up a media network for educating and enlightening the Indian farming sector through our various media ventures, running four magazines in three languages and other agri consultancy activities. It was also at that time Maharashtra agriculture too was pioneering many new innovative agri institutions building. The State’s Co-operative grapes farmers, other new crops like strawberry cultivation and the agri exports activities were pioneering ones and they deservingly attracted other states too.’ Pawar could easily engage and impress and convince anyone and this is his core strength of character and sustained energy! See at this age his boundless mental power to join such supposed disjoint political powers!

We have been in touch with each other off and on and we have also exchanged correspondence when our views differed. Now, coming to current political developments what is the larger picture? The future shape of Indian politics? The Congress party, to put it more sympathetically, is in shambles. Sonia Gandhi is faced with an albatross on her neck! First, she had shouldered once again the Congress organisation which is top heavy with all old and retired senior politicians perched in comfortable Lutyens’s bungalows. They are unlikely to vacate space for others in the near future.

The youth Congress under Rahul Gandhi came in and flopped. Who would the Congress really focus?

The party is non-existent in most states! The next few years may give some indication of its likely future. So, Sonia Gandhi has fall in line with Pawar’s play, so to say, at least to save her own honour! The Maharashtra Congress leaders have no other way but to join the Pawar brigade. As for Shiv Sena, Pawar is now the mentor and the party is lucky to have a mentor like him and the future of the three-party coalition, we are sure, could take on Modi-Shah duo, in our opinion, in an effective way.

In fact, Pawar is the real counterweight to the resource-rich and also strong ruling duo and would surely stand up to the counter manoeuvring in the days to come. There is a very cheap jibe that the coalition is an ideological contradiction- is simply nonsense. This is strictly not an ideological coalition but a strategic coalition to keep out a common ruthless enemy! Who knows in the next phase there may be more adventurism. To conclude, let people realise that the price of freedom and democracy is eternal vigilance!

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