If you thought that a possible change of government in Maharashtra may mean that the old establishment will have to make way for a new, more efficient one, think again.
After the Congress-NCP government's unprecedented defeat in the Lok Sabha elections where they could hold on to just six of the state's 48 seats, ruling party politicians and their kin have figured out a short-cut to stay in power: changing loyalties and migrating to opposition parties.
"The question is that of vested political interests, sticking to political power and monopolising it," said Surendra Jondhale, a professor in the department of civics and politics, Mumbai University.
Ambition over family loyalty?
Dynastic politics is very common not just in Maharashtra, but all over India. But this trend seems to have been replaced with the recent spurt in politicians changing their loyalties without batting an eyelid.
For instance, former NCP minister Dr Vijaykumar Gavit's daughter Dr Heena contested as a BJP candidate from tribal-dominated Nandurbar and defeated Congress veteran Manikrao Gavit. Dr Gavit, whose wife Kumudini is a former NCP zilla parishad chief, has been expelled from the NCP and is likely to join the BJP. However, his younger brother Sharad, who defeated another Congress strongman Surupsinh Naik from Navapur as a Samajwadi Party nominee in 2009 has joined the NCP.
Congress-NCP veterans including former MP and education baron Datta Meghe, and former MLAs Pratap Patil Chikhalikar, Anil Babar and Sanjay Ghatge have joined the saffron alliance. Incidentally, former minister Babanrao Pachpute, a MLA from Srigonda in Ahmednagar, began his career from Janata Dal, switched over to the Congress, later the NCP, contested as Independent and then joined the NCP again, and is now on the verge of shifting loyalties to the BJP! When Meghe was a NCP MP, his son Sagar was a BJP MLC.
Neta shuffling in Mumbai
While former Mumbai mayor Datta Dalvi is with the Shiv Sena, his cousin and former MLA from Sawantwadi moved from the Sena to the NCP a couple of years ago. Dhavalsinh Mohite Patil, son of former BJP MP from Solapur, Pratapsinh Mohite Patil, has joined the Sena.
In Mumbai, NCP MLA Nawab Malik brother and former NCP corporator Kaptan Malik are now with Raj Thackeray's MNS. After the MNS was formed in 2006, children of many senior Shiv Sena leaders had joined the party, even as their fathers continued with the Sena.
Ideology-based politics becoming antiquated?
"Unfortunately, the political culture is such that ideology-based politics is fast becoming antiquated," rued socialist and former legislator Prof Sharad Patil, who heads the state Janata Dal (Secular). "Sadly, the society does not place a premium on values. I must also admit that we failed to take our thoughts and ideology to the masses and youth," admitted Patil, pointing to how the state once had a generation of leaders like SM Joshi, Mrinaltai and Bandu Gore and Pramila and Madhu Dandavate and Bapusaheb Kaldate, who practiced value-based politics and had risen from the ranks of the Rashtra Sewa Dal founded by author, freedom fighter and social reformer Sane Guruji.