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Maharashtra crisis: Why is the government so weak in Indian democracy, is the anti-defection law weak? MPNRC

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Banners are put up in support of Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde in Thane district of Maharashtra on Thursday, June 23, 2022. (ANI photo)

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The political drama that is going on in Maharashtra in the last few days is not unfamiliar to Indian politics. Often we see such high-voltage political drama in states in which the opposition tries to grab power from the hands of the ruling party.

Sometime back, in March 2020, a similar incident was reported in Madhya Pradesh. The Kamal Nath government fell after a group of 23 rebel Congress MLAs led by Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party. Subsequently, Kamal Nath had to resign as his government was reduced to a minority. Beneficiary – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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About 10 months ago, in July 2019, the Kumaraswamy government, a coalition between the Janata Dal Secular and the Congress, lost the trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly. His government lost its majority after three JDS and 13 Congress MLAs resigned from the assembly. Dramatic pictures of BJP leader BS Yediyurappa sleeping on the floor at night will remain etched in people’s memories as such protests are rare in politics. Yeddyurappa, the then Karnataka BJP president, staged a night-long protest in the assembly demanding a floor test.

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The list of states is long – Uttarakhand, Goa, and so on – that have seen governments fall as power-hungry legislators rebelled against their own leadership.

Also read: Eknath Shinde claims the support of 38 MLAs, here are the alternatives of the rebel camp

The rebel MLAs also have some rhyme and reason for their separation but it is also a failure of Indian democracy. In many cases, the party that lost power cries foul and accuses the opposition of using money force to lure legislators and circumvent the anti-defection law.

The tussle over power in Maharashtra is moving towards floor test in the assembly.

It would be politically unwise to think that Shiv Sena chief and CM Uddhav Thackeray would accept his defeat and tender his resignation without any lethargy till the last round.

However, rebel Shiv Sena MLA from Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency and Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde, who is leading the rebel faction of the party, has a clear advantage as more than 37 MLAs are in his favour. A separate faction requires one-third of the legislators on its side in order not to violate the anti-defection law.

Shiv Sena and Uddhav supporters are hoping that when the rebel MLAs return to Mumbai from Guwahati, where they are camping in a hotel, they may have a change of heart.

Once the action moves towards the trust vote, expect more action-packed episodes. A strong leader of Maharashtra politics and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar showed his support to Thackeray.

The next few days will reveal the winner of another power game in Indian politics.

If the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP does government banking on Shinde, it could again prove fragile as the saffron party was left in the red just a few months back. A few weeks after the assembly elections, Fadnavis took oath as the CM on November 23, 2019 with the support of NCP No. 2 leader Ajit Pawar and had to resign on November 26, 2019. But a few days later, Ajit Pawar decided. Return of his uncle Sharad Pawar to NCP.

In the game of power, such incidents show nothing but the gray side of our democracy and the rule of law.

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