Now that Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP Might Join Hands, Can Bhakts and Libtards be Friends?


Now that Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP Might Join Hands, Can Bhakts and Libtards be Friends?

Illustration: Arati Gujar

If you thought Inception was a complicated movie, picture this – the BJP and Shiv Sena ran a government together in Maharashtra between 2014 to 2019, hurling abuses at each other daily like they were auditioning for Roadies. The Shiv Sena was in power and also the primary opposition, making the actual opposition of Congress and NCP wonder, “Sab tum log karoge to hum kya karenge?” When it seemed like a K-serial-type nasty divorce was on the cards for the BJP-Sena before the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, they announced a pre-poll alliance, the Maha-Yuti, and comfortably swept the polls. In an ideal world, this would have been the happy ending to the story, but Maharashtra politics resides in an Anurag Kashyap film, and things escalated faster than a Gujarati uncle’s diabetes reading after having sweets at a wedding.

With no party securing a majority on its own, the BJP and Shiv Sena publicly bickered over the chief minister’s post like it was the free dhaniya-mirch that one had to haggle with the sabziwala for, on which there would be no compromise. Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut provided comic relief to this circus with provocative statements every day, channeling his inner Marathi Trump. Devendra Fadnavis eventually resigned and the BJP stated it didn’t have the numbers to form government. Was there going to be a re-election? Why can’t Anil Kapoor from Nayak just become CM? Is the economy doing so bad that Amit Shah can’t buy a few MLAs? Surely the Shiv Sena would never ally with the Congress and NCP?

Turns out, they would.

Claiming that politicians are opportunistic is like saying a Kartik Aaryan film is sexist. The BJP previously formed governments in Goa and Bihar without being the single-largest party, and the universe has come full circle, with someone doing to them what they did to others. As a 12-year-old Insta poets say, “Karma is a bitch.” The Congress has a history of forming minority governments, and going by recent trends, it could soon be history itself. Even the young Aam Aadmi Party was accused of abandoning principles and forming a government with a corrupt party (the Congress) against whom they had based their entire agitation. If these parties switch sides so frequently, who will give their fans the memo?

The Sena/BJP and Congress/NCP mobilised their cadres and trained their follower base to vehemently hate each other over ideology.

While followers of these parties keep launching tirades against each other with cries of “bhakts” and “libtards” online, their so-called “nationalist” and “secularist” leaders have abandoned their ideologies faster than Rohit Shetty abandons the laws of physics. It doesn’t matter to the Congress that the Shiv Sena had written a popular Saamna editorial headlined “Desh todne wali Congress ko ukhaad phenko.” It doesn’t matter to the Shiv Sena that the Congress has repeatedly called them a bunch of goons on TV debates over the years and even coined the term “saffron terrorists”. While people get into arguments at office and leave family WhatsApp groups over their political viewpoints, Uddhav Thackeray didn’t blink once before deciding to join hands with a party against which he ran a frontpage ad that asked “If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?” The Sena/BJP and Congress/NCP mobilised their cadres and trained their follower base to vehemently hate each other over ideology. While ordinary people spent their blood, sweat, and time over these tiring (and apparently pointless) pursuits, the leaders gave up their ideologies as frivolously as the paanwala hands out Pulse candy when he is out of change.

Maybe there is a lesson for all of us in here. That we must not support political parties with the passion and blind faith reserved for football clubs. That these strongly held dogmatic views are not worth losing friends, family, or loved ones over; they clearly don’t mean much to those we are supposedly defending. That we must always be flexible and keep our options open in life. It doesn’t matter what you promised your boss during a performance review, if someone makes you a better offer, you grab it and move ahead in life. At times, it is okay to be shameless and look after your self interests, like Ravi Shastri did in that 1985 game to win an Audi 100 sedan. And most importantly, to never rule out any possibility in life, for you could one day be Priyanka Chaturvedi, who tore into the Shiv Sena as a Congress spokesperson, only to join the Shiv Sena later to take digs at the Congress, and now would potentially have to work with her ex-employer as the Shiv Sena and Congress get together in what could be the Filmfare Unexpected Couple of 2019.

As they say, you gotta do what you gotta do.