Nawab Malik’s arrest fuels Hindu-Muslim polarisation

Nawab Malik’s arrest fuels Hindu-Muslim polarisation

The arrest of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) minister Nawab Malik has taken the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party conflict on expected lines as the BJP is playing the Hindutva card loud and clear, with CM Uddhav Thackeray defending a minority leader. is challenging not to do, which has been alleged. He has links with Dawood Ibrahim, a fugitive don and the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings, after which the Shiv Sena became a force in the state and came to power in an alliance with the BJP in 1995. The BJP has tried to put the Shiv Sena in a fix by calling on the CM’s late father and Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, who was a staunch critic of Dawood. Thackeray Sr. had put aside the Shiv Sena’s Marathi Manus agenda and adopted a new political line to become the champion of Hindutva.

In the wake of Malik’s arrest, the BJP has very aggressively reiterated a charge against Uddhav that he has completely departed from Hindutva which was his father’s hallmark. It said Malik is fit for removal from the cabinet, while the MVA thinks otherwise. The MVA has said that Malik will not resign till the “politically motivated” charges against him are proved. Uddhav Thackeray’s recent outburst made it clear that as far as law enforcement action against MVA allies and their allies is concerned, there is no way out other than to fight the election legally as well as democratically. He seems to have challenged the BJP to bring up the BJP’s issue of Hindu-Muslim polarization in the civic polls in Mumbai, where one in four people is a Muslim. The Shiv Sena is extending an olive branch to minorities, especially Muslims, who split their loyalties between the Congress, which has the maximum number of legislators from the community, followed by the NCP and the Samajwadi Party in the 2019 elections. AIMIM lost one seat to Shiv Sena. NCP city president Malik is also among the Muslim MLAs who have repeatedly returned to the House.

Malik’s specialty

It is quite clear that two MVA ministers, Sanjay Rathod and Anil Deshmukh, were asked to resign by their respective party chiefs. Shiv Sena’s Rathod’s tenure was cut short by allegations of abetment to suicide, while NCP’s Deshmukh resigned after the High Court ordered a CBI probe into corruption charges leveled against him by former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh. had given The Enforcement Directorate arrested Deshmukh much later. The political significance of the two former ministers was not high, but the stakes are high in Malik’s case, as he is one of the few who have built a hornet’s nest in the past 27 months. He took the fight straight to the doorstep of former CM Devendra Fadnavis, earning praise from the anti-BJP lot. His popularity among the Muslim community soared, leaving his own party contenders and others insecure.

Apart from Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, Malik has been doing most of the talking on behalf of the MVA government and his party. He held a record number of press conferences against Sameer Wankhede, an officer of the central agency. Her party boss found an example to emulate in West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee’s ministers were arrested by the CBI in an alleged scam, but were not sacked by the CM. Instead, Banerjee opted to face the Center and its agencies. The MVA plans to do the same, but it remains to be seen whether it goes to the extent Banerjee has gone. Banerjee is in absolute power in West Bengal. The MVA has a divided leadership. The BJP is well aware of the fractures in the MVA and attempts to dent even deeper when an opportunity strikes a platter or is devised by its always-election-mode leadership.

Up or Down?

It is understood that the results of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will affect the national politics to a great extent. In the last assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the country’s largest state, BJP proved the opposition’s estimates wrong. The opposition depends heavily on the outcome, the prospect of a fractured mandate that a non-BJP alliance gives, in UP. The opposition (read MVA) in Maharashtra feels that a BJP victory in UP will invite more trouble for them from the Center which will intensify the attack on their government.
Even in the corridors of power, there is a possibility of intensifying the anti-BJP campaign in a very aggressive manner if the Yogi government is gone. Political rumblings say the MVA will have time to choose between a state-centre conflict, while dissolving the government on its own to go as long as possible and face midterm elections, in anticipation that it will The opposition has created the spirit of the BJP to win the mandate, together or independent of each other. The three parties may join hands after the elections like they did in the winter of 2019. But to realize that ‘expected spirit’, the MVA will largely have to wait for the mandate in the local body elections that are scheduled. be organized this year.

Dharmendra Jore is the political editor of Mid-Day. He tweeted @dharmendrajore

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