Too many agitations pushing Maharashtra away from the main agenda

ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR 
Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Though decent and the right to oppose the government of the day are fundamental rights in a democracy the need of the hour for Maharashtra is not to indulge in endless agitations that are disrupting the economy and the social environment in the state. If Maharashtra is to progress on the economic and social front a more peaceful and amicable environment is necessary.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party known as MIM was seen getting aggressive on several occasions in the state assembly in the past few days. The party reminds most of us who have covered Maharashtra assembly for over 15 years since 1995, of how the Samajwadi Party used to function in the state assembly in the late 1990s.

MIM is seen following exactly Samajwadi party’s footsteps in order to capture the political turf that belongs to the minority community in certain pockets of the state such as Bhivandi, Malegaon, parts of Aurangabad district and some other areas. Samajwadi party had two aggressive MLAs Nawab Malik and Sohail Lokhandwala those days and now MIM also has a similar duo which raises its voice in the assembly and outside every now and then. 

The difference, however, is that the focus seems to be merely on agitations. Maharashtra has recently seen a political party called MNS rise and fall in a span of 10 years mainly because it focused too much only on agitations. MIM must learn the lesson from this and get into some alternative mode too. 

Two days ago MIM was seen launching an agitation against controversial Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen as she had come to Aurangabad to visit the Agentha Ellora caves as a tourist. There was no public function, there was no speech scheduled. Nasreen just quietly wanted to visit the monument and leave.

But MIM did not let that happen and forced her to return from Aurangabad airport. Three days before that the MIM made a big issue of Chennai high court order on national song Vande Mataram and protested in a loud manner in the state assembly over it.

In retaliation against this, the Shiv Sena also launched an agitation outside the Vidhan Bhavan and shouted slogans against the MIM. So the agenda is being driven towards communal issues or emotive issues by the state politicians and lawmakers while the state is currently faced with massive economic and environmental issues. 

Just over a week ago a multistory building collapsed in Mumbai killing 17 residents and injuring over 30. It transpired that the pillars and beams of the building were tampered with by a member of Shiv Sena who was threatening all the residents and wanted to build a commercial outlet on the ground floor of the building.

Repeatedly such incidents have been happening in Mumbai but no concrete action is seen taken. No political will is shown to prevent these collapses from taking place. Instead, the opposition is seen taking up emotive issues. 

In Maharashtra’s rural areas farmers are doing through huge distress because of the cash crunch in banks. At the beginning of the sowing season, the farmers need cash desperately and the credit societies or rural banks are not able to supply it this year because they don’t have supply of cash. Earlier the opposition supported a huge agitation taken up by farmers to demand loan waiver.

The anticipation of loan waiver pushed farmers towards non-payments of earlier loans and that has virtually broken the back of rural banking today, so again agitations are responsible for this downward spiralling situation. 

Though decent and the right to oppose the government of the day are fundamental rights in a democracy the need of the hour for Maharashtra is not to indulge in endless agitations that are disrupting the economy and the social environment in the state. If Maharashtra is to progress on the economic and social front a more peaceful and amicable environment is necessary. 

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