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Uddhav’s in-experience, political distancing of Shiv Sena defeating fight against coronavirus

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New Delhi, Apr 24: Maharashtra is facing one of its worst crisis in handling the coronavirus spread. The state tops the national number and the spread of the infection in Dharavi, Asia's largest slum is not making matters easy either.

Uddhav’s in-experience, political distancing of Shiv Sena defeating fight against coronavirus

On the other hand, the state is also staring at a constitutional crisis as Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray awaits a nomination from the Governor to the legislative council. With elections being put off, the only option for Thackeray is to get the Governor to nominate him as an MLC.

Constitutional crisis looms large in Maharashtra: Can Uddhav Thackeray hold on to CM’s seat?Constitutional crisis looms large in Maharashtra: Can Uddhav Thackeray hold on to CM’s seat?

He took oath as the Chief Minister on November 28. While the Election Commission has already postponed the Rajya Sabha polls, civic body elections and by-polls, Article 164 (4) of the Constitution says that Thackeray would have to be elected to either of the state legislature houses before May 24.

Dr Sandeep Shastri, leading psephologist tells OneIndia that technically any nominated member is as good as an elected member. There is no bar on the Governor nominating him. However, till date, no chief minister has been nominated to the upper house in that category. Even at the central level, ie the Rajya Sabha, no minister has ever been nominated in this category. In the state levels, there have been such cases, but they have been isolated ones, Dr Shastri also points out.

The question now is what happens if he is unable to get elected. He can resign and then get himself sworn in as CM the next day. He would then have another six months time to get elected to the council. However, this is easier said than done as it would involve both the Shiv Sena's partners, Congress and NCP. Further, the Governor would also be involved in this process and hence there are multiple obstacles for Thackeray.

Another option before Thackeray is to resign and then get his son in as the CM, Dr Shastri says. The Sena would not want to part with the post of CM at this stage. After all, they have fought really hard for it.

The coalition has been really bad at handling the coronavirus situation. If you look at it dispassionately, then, it would have been difficult for any government to handle the situation. I wish the current government was a little more proactive.

Yes, the case in Maharashtra is unique. The position of Mumbai is different. The government could have handled it better. Had they done well, then Thackeray could have overcome the crisis, Dr Sandeep Shastri also says. Thackeray's handling of the situation has only put him in the back-foot. Had he handled it better then he would not have had to face the constitutional challenge before him.

This is Uddhav Thackeray's first stint in governance. Having become a CM straight, he does not have much experience on one hand and on the other, he has not been able to capitalise on the experience of his colleagues. Congress and NCP are part of this government only because they want the office. They do not want to bail out the CM and neither have they stuck out their neck and helped him. He has become a Lone Ranger.

While social distancing has become the norm, the Shiv Sena within the coalition is facing political distancing, says Dr Shastri. There is a good amount of scheming, strategising and backroom manoeuvring that is defeating the fight against COVID-19, says Dr Sandeep Shastri.

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