Nagpur/Mumbai: Now that year 2018 is bidding bye to one and all, leaving a trail of many ups and downs, highs and lows for eminent personalities in various fields, political leaders were no different. And when it comes to the leaders in Maharashtra, there are few who, despite facing the heat reigned their horses swiftly. There were few like Uddhav Thackeray who shattered aspirations of many political leaders through their criticizing vendetta. Nagpur Today takes you to the journey of these political in state during the year 2018.
Chief Minister Fadnavis single-handedly tackled the entire Opposition, and campaigned extensively to secure victories for the BJP in local body polls. For every protest he faced, be it from the Marathas, OBCs or farmers, he doused the fire through discussions and promises. He largely stayed clean, without any personal allegations of corruption. He handled the government and party machinery effectively. Suffering constant attacks from the ally Sena, he neither lost his temper nor gave them an upper hand. Often seen as impersonating the ‘Modi’ style of functioning, he has steered the ship well.
Mr. Thackeray managed to be part of the government as well as emerge as the most bitter critic and opponent of the BJP. Despite threats of his party representatives switching sides and joining the BJP, Mr. Thackeray managed to control the party. He launched a fierce attack on the State government, and even announced that his party would contest all future polls independently. Thus, he ensured that the Opposition parties in Maharashtra did not get the mantle they were aspiring for, throughout the year.
Mr. Shetty, a farmers’ leader and an MP from Hatkanangle in western Maharashtra, deserted the ruling BJP over its anti-farmer policies. Emerging as a prominent force for farmers to rally around in their protests against the government, Mr Shetty led protests in almost all districts of Maharashtra, as well as Madhya Pradesh and other States. Mr. Shetty’s party suffered in-fighting and his former trusted aide joined hands with the BJP. But he remains a force to reckon with, as the face of farmers’ distress in the State.
Mr. Patole, a former BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondia constituency in Vidarbha, resigned from the post as a mark of protest against what he termed as the authoritarian functioning of PM Narendra Modi and the anti-farmer policies of the government. Mr. Patole then joined the Congress, but decided not to contest the bypoll. He, however, campaigned for the NCP and ensured that the BJP candidate lost the election. Mr. Patole is turning out to be the resurgent Congress’ face in the eastern belt of Vidarbha as well as a leader representing farmers at the national level.
Be it opposing the ‘Urban Naxals’ theory floated by the government, or joining hands with the AIMIM, Mr. Ambedkar remained in the news and at the centre of political discussion throughout the year. His call for a Statewide bandh after the Bhima-Koregaon riot at the start of the year, and his direct attack on right-wing activist Sambhaji Bhide sprung him into the limelight. His alliance with AIMIM has not gone down too well with Opposition parties. With his forays across the State, Mr. Ambedkar may turn out to be the spoilsport for many in 2019.