Mumbai. Election Commission of India announced the opening of transfer window for Maharashtra elections in a press conference here on Wednesday. This announcement led to speculations in the media about this year’s prize catches of the hottest transfer window in the nation.
The most talked about player is Narayan Rane after his resignation on Monday. Maharashtra has a glorious past when it comes to the transfer activity. Rane, the captain of the League winning Sena squad of 90s, made headlines, when he jumped from Sena to Congress almost a decade ago. “It reminded everyone of Luis Figo moving from Barcelona to Real Madrid and drew similar rowdy reaction from the old team fans, but our leader stood tall,” a Rane supporter got nostalgic.
The things are a bit different this time around though. Rane is believed to be way past his prime and was consistently benched in recent months during his party’s dismal performance. The fledgling AAP, who after an impressive start to the last season, barely managed to survive relegation to the oblivion, is showing keen interest. “We are looking for a big name who will be an excellent cultural fit in our party,” said AAP manager Arvind Kejriwal, “Be it the U-turns, shoot and scoot politics or protests while in the government, Rane just ticks off all the right boxes.”
AAP coaching staff seemed pretty upbeat about this potential acquisition. “Him being a sainik in the past is not at all a problem for us. If you look at it carefully, both the Senas and AAP are similar in most ways, except maybe views on nationalism. Be it pointless dharnas or reservations for the sons of the soil. You name it,” opined Kamal Mitra Chenoy, their ideology coach, “Our rigorous pre-season training is sufficient to get rid of the nationalism, if at all any is left after spending nine years in Congress. He is a quick learner when it comes to switching ideologies as he demonstrated almost a decade ago”.
Some reports of unrest in AAP cadre about Rane’s alleged corrupt past surfaced once the news broke out, but all the nerves were calmed when the heavenly soothing voice of their head coach aired on NDTV. “Are we going to stoop so low in shooting baseless allegations at a respected senior player like Rane? Aren’t the communal forces in Sena propagating these lies? We really need to ask these questions to ourselves, Nidhi.”
Experts believe that a lot more is to come this transfer season. Number of journalists are of the opinion that the great transfer culture of Maharashtra, that Mundes, Bhujbals, Nirupams, Gawits and assorted varieties of Patils have contributed to, makes democracy vibrant and exciting. “In this time and age of fascist takeover of all the institutions, transfers is what will eventually keep the idea of India alive. Fascists will also get diluted by ayarams gayarams,” hoped a leading journalist Nikhil Wagle.
Pre-season friendlies are also scheduled to be played out between various Senas, which will involve stone pelting and street wrestling. In the event of a tie, these will be decided on the basis of good old taxi shoot-out.
Meanwhile, the sideshow of drought, power outages and other such minor issues continues. Other than some regressive fringe, everyone seems to have moved beyond these old issues to focus on the new age politics.