Now that it is more or less definite that the Shiv Sena is going to form the next government in Maharastra, I am wondering what sort of a life will we lead under its benevolent dictatorship.
First, who will be the chief minister? Most probably it will be a Joshi - Chief Minister Joshi. It could be Manohar Joshi or Sudhir Joshi. Or it could be Mr. Chhagan Bhujbal, he has all the makings of a fine chief minister. There must be others in the party who must be chief minister material. If we have not heard about them, it is because we have not been taking sufficient interest in Shiv Sena politics.
Whoever it is, it will be Mr. Bal Thackeray who will finally decide. He will, of course, decide everything, the Shiv Sena being one man, one leader party.
The chief minister will stay at Varsha and all the other minister will move into the bungalows on Malabar Hill. Unlike the Janata Dal, there will be no false modesty about not wanting to stay in large houses. However, Mr. Thackeray will continue to reside at his cottae in Kalanagar Colony. And that will be the centre of the government and party activites. So, of a citizen wants any special favour, he will have to go to Kalanagar Colony and not Mantralaya or Varsha.
I am not quite sure whether Mr. Thanckeray will also have an office (room) at Mnatralaya. He prohably will. But there will be no Shiv Sena flag flying over Mantralaya, when its leaders said that, it was only a manner of speaking. No party flags fly over Mantralaya, only the national flag.
One of the first things the new government will do is change the name of Bombay to Mumbai - officially. The use of the name Bombay will be forbidden by law. It will be Mumbai Gymkhana, or, more appropriately, Mumbai Khel-Gammat Cha Sangram.
Money will be spent on the beautifying of Mumbai, the city will be cleaner, it will have more parks, greenery, traffic islands with flower-beds. And all the hawkers on Dababhoy Naoroji Road and the lanes off it will be removed in one great swoop. Pedestrians will finally have pavements to walk on. And if Mr. Tinaikar raises technical obstacles in the completion of this task, he will be kicked out (not my expression, Mr. Thackeray's).
Money will also be spent on the development of Ratnagiri and the Konkan region. And the government will make all efforts to include Belgaum and Karwar in Maharastra. As for the Shiv Sena's partner in the government, the BJP, people will soon be asking - what is the BJP? Or Bha Je Pa, as they call it.
Finally, I am aware that a lot of people are worried about the Shiv Sena coming into power. I do not see any reason why they should be. After all, what could the Shiv Sena not do that the previous governments have not done! Jai Maharastra.