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Congress chief says ‘will contest Maharashtra assembly elections alone’, NCP insists ‘all is well’ within MVA alliance

"It's not a merger but an alliance of 3 parties, We don't have any commitment to contest every election together. In local polls, local leaders take the decision. We only strategize for Lok Sabha & state elections," Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut added.

After Punjab and Rajasthan, not all seems to be well with the Maharashtra government which is currently being dragged by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress trio.

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole is reportedly miffed after former political strategist Prashant Kishore’s met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and also praised Shiv Sena.

Reacting to being sidelined, “Congress will contest the Maharashtra Assembly Elections alone. I am ready to be the CM face if the party high command decides,” announced Patole. 

“We already have announced that we will go solo in all forthcoming local body elections, likely to be held from November, and thereafter the Assembly polls too. We do not want to keep our allies in the dark and ditch them ahead of the polls. We are preparing to go solo and they too are free to do so. The Congress will be the single-largest party in 2024 Assembly polls,” he added.

Congress being sidelined?

Attacking Pawar for calling Sena ‘a party which one can trust,’ Patole said, “We don’t need a certificate from anyone. Even if someone is sidelining us, that doesn’t mean we will be sidelined. By 2024, Congress will only remain the top party in Maharashtra,” said Maharashtra Congress chief.

Congress leaders have extended their support to the state’s party chief. “It will also help in regaining the old glory when the party used to form the government in the state singlehandedly. Patole’s statement is the party’s official stand,” said vice president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Arif Naseem Khan.

Veteran party member Rashid Alvi too came out in Patole’s support and said that no one should have a problem with Congress wanting to contest elections alone. “I don’t think anyone should have a problem with Congress fighting local body elections. Every political party has its right to take the decisions and so should Congress party should decide for its own,” he said. 

Formidable alliance of opposition parties

Patole’s statement comes after Pawar during NCP’s 22nd foundation day (June 10) celebrations claimed that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), will fight the next Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together. 

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik too tried hard to suggest that there is a need to further strengthen the alliance.

“There is a need to form a formidable alliance of Opposition parties against the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) at national level, ahead of the next general elections. Pawarsaheb had himself spoken about the need to have such a national alliance and had said that he would try to bring together all such forces,” Malik remarked.

‘All is well,’ says Nawab Malik

NCP leader Nawab Malik in a recent interview to News18 on Monday said that it is not right to politicize Nana Patole’s statement and that it would be wrong to draw conclusions. He claimed that all is well with the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

However, Patole’s statement seems to have punctured the future plans of the Shiv Sena and the NCP of fighting every election together.

“We don’t have any commitment to contest every election together” says Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut who usually dismisses every claim of internal discord with the Maha Vikas Aghadi said that all are free to expand and strengthen their party.

“It’s not a merger but an alliance of 3 parties, We don’t have any commitment to contest every election together. In local polls, local leaders take the decision. We only strategize for Lok Sabha & state elections,” he added.

As per a report, NCP and Shiv Sena are likely to fight most of the local body elections together while keeping the Congress out.

Alliance to stay reiterates Priyanka Chaturvedi

On the other hand, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi emphasized that the alliance is here to stay. 

Speaking with Times Now, Chaturvedi informed, “Moving forward, what decisions are taken in terms of state elections is a decision that is for their party to take and their party leadership to take. As far as Maharashtra government is concerned we will continue being in an alliance and continue to serve the people of Maharashtra.”

However, Chaturvedi also wished them luck since the decision had already been taken. “We can only wish them all the best if they have come up with such a decision to contest alone in the coming polls,” she said.

“Congress not happy with CM” says BJP leader

BJP leader Ram Kadam asserted that with Patole seeing himself as the Chief Minister face for 2024 state assembly elections, Congress is clearly not happy with the current CM.

“It is a proven fact now that the Congress is not happy with CM Uddhav Thackeray and hence, they have been talking about going solo. It needs to be understood if Congress’ anger is out of the differences between them or because the other two parties are grabbing major share of power,” Kadam remarked

The sudden change in tone, the contradictory statements and Patole asking “Don’t you want to make Nana Patole as CM in 2024?” to Congress workers has given an interesting turn to Maharashtra politics. 

Congress has no say

Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirpuma have gone on records on multiple occasions to say that the Congress party has had no say in any of the decisions being taken by the Thackeray government. The party has also clarified that the alliance is limited to Maharashtra and that Sena was not part of the UPA. Meanwhile, Pawar and Raut have time and again called for efforts to create a giant alliance to defeat the BJP at the national level. 

Upcoming elections

More than 15 municipal corporations (including Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane), 29 of 36 district councils and over 90 municipal councils will go for polls over the next 20 months while the state assembly election is all set to take place in 2024. 

Whether or not the alliance will survive till the next state election is for us to see.

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