The 2019 elections have now become an integral part of Maharashtra's political history and a new book provides a fly-on-the-wall account of the 36-day drama.
Journalist Kamlesh Sutar says "36 Days: A Political Chronicle of Ambition, Deception, Trust and Betrayal" is his ode to the politics of Maharashtra as he wanted to document the most riveting phase of the state's politics.
Even though the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats in the assembly elections, pre-poll partner Shiv Sena walked out of the alliance as there was no consensus over sharing the chief ministerial post.
The Shiv Sena then entered into an unlikely tie-up with the NCP and the Congress and formed the government. Uddhav Thackeray took oath as chief minister on November 28, 2019.
The passage of power from the BJP to the Shiv Sena via the Congress and the NCP and from Manohar Joshi to Uddhav Thackeray via Narayan Rane was not easy, the book says.
"Uddhav's political journey has always amused everyone who has watched his slow and steady ascendance. From being written off on his debut to rising to the most powerful seat of power in the state, Uddhav's journey has been no less than that of a Bollywood potboiler," it says.
Many consider Uddhav's entry into politics as accidental, but those who have watched him closely say his is a well-planned and excellently executed political journey, it adds.
According to the author, during the Shiv Sena's heyday in the 1990s, no one would have expected the shy Uddhav to reach these heights in politics.
"Uddhav, who completed his diploma from the Sir JJ School of Arts, was always inclined towards photography, especially wildlife. At some point, he owned a display advertising business. Moreover, while Balasaheb's other sons, Bindumadhav and Jaidev, were seen in the public domain, they were not actively into politics.
"With his three sons relatively detached from active politics, it was Bal Thackeray's brother Shrikant's son Raj who stepped into his uncle's footsteps," the book, published by Rupa, says.
Sutar says Uddhav's uncomplicated, middle-class Marathi manoos image and the stamp of a complete family man always gave him an upper edge.
"To say that Uddhav was a reluctant politician would be widely off the mark. He was as ambitious as Raj, but he was never flamboyant about his ambitions. He knew his shortcomings very well. He knew he was seen as the complete opposite of the extroverted Balasaheb, but he very intelligently built his political brand and image around the same soft-spoken image," he writes.
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