Uddhav Thackeray can’t even imagine what Devendra Fadnavis just said….Now, that’s called a Lion’s answer!

The disdain and contempt that mainstream media in general and English media in particular harbours for Hindus and BJP is quite well known. It is also an open secret that the relationship between BJP and Shiv Sena (SS), which has been in alliance for around 25 years, now, is not really hunky dory. However, the blow hot blow cold relationship between the two has hardly affected the functioning of the government in Maharashtra. Trading charges is one thing but not letting that affect governance is a different ball game altogether. The media, though, looks for chances to cause ill will between the two or at least tries to provoke a battle of words. That most of them fail to do so doesn’t deter them in the least.

In recent times there has been a saffron surge across the country and BJP has been sweeping election after election; right from the Panchayat/Zilla Parishad & Municipal elections to assembly polls. Even in the recently concluded BMC polls, which holds a great significance given the fact that the Brihan mumbai Municipal Corporation is the richest municipal body in the country, BJP gave SS a run for its money and tripled its seats.

BJP in Maharashtra has not only proved its mettle but also flexed its muscles under the able leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis. In the local body elections BJP has retained its strongholds as well as made inroads into and captured new municipal bodies that were strongholds of either their rivals or allies. The rise of the BJP is naturally a cause for worry not just for its opponents but ally SS as well. From being a junior party in the state BJP is now in a position to dictate terms. As a consequence we often see editorials in SS mouthpiece Saamna attacking CM Fadnavis or PM Modi.

As mentioned earlier MSM always looks for opportunities to needle politicians and Rajdeep Sardesai with his visible contempt for BJP would never let go of an opportunity to do so. India Today conclave presented him with such an opportunity. This conclave is always well attended by dignitaries cutting across various fields from all over the country. It is a platform where celebrities can share their thoughts and views. One such session was attended by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. Rajdeep posed a couple of awkward questions in the hope that would put the CM on the back foot. However, to borrow a cricket analogy, CM hit the ball straight out of the park much to the embarrassment of Sardesai.

When asked how he handles his ally Shiv Sena who seem to be causing more trouble for the CM and targeting him and PM Modi more than even their opponents do, CM Fadnavis replied that he draws inspiration from Shri Vajpayee who handled 22 parties as allies, most of them being regional ones, he could easily manage one party all by himself. Not one to let go easily, Sardesai further questioned how the CM feels when he reads Saamna every morning; the CM simply said “You read Saamna, I don’t read”. Of course, there was nothing more Sardesai could do except look away in embarrassment.

Latha Iyer