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Is Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra on the verge of an imminent collapse?

Congress's desire to go solo, Pratap Sarnaik's suggestion to join hands with PM Modi, and Sanjay Raut's flip-flops: Things going wrong in the unholy alliance in Maharashtra

With the rift widening between the members of the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance in Maharashtra, Rajya Sabha MP and senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday reassured that Uddhav Thackeray will continue to remain the chief minister of Maharashtra.

In an uncharacteristically placatory tone, Raut on Monday said, “Shiv Sena, Congress & NCP stand united, committed to run govt for 5 yrs. Outsiders who want to form govt & are restless after losing power may try, but govt will continue. Attempts may be made to create cracks b/w Congress, NCP & Shiv Sena but it won’t work.”

Raut’s appeasing remarks alleging that Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress are united comes in sharp contrast to the belligerence exhibited by him and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray after state Congress chief Nana Patole last week said Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance is not a permanent fixture and reaffirmed his party’s desire of going solo in the future polls.

“We have already announced that we will go solo in all the forthcoming local body elections, likely to be held from November, and assembly polls thereafter. 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 are free to do so. Congress would be the single largest party in the 2024 assembly polls,” Patole had said.

CM Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut mock Congress after it expresses its desire of fighting solo in upcoming polls

Patole’s rebuttal elicited sharp responses from the Shiv Sena leaders, most notably chief minister Uddhav Thackeray himself, who took a dig at ally Congress saying that people would “beat with footwear” those who only talk about contesting elections alone without offering solutions to people’s problems.

“If a party says that it wants to contest elections on its own without joining hands with others, it should first generate confidence among the public of its ability to provide jobs,” the Chief Minister had said.

Sanjay Raut also took a swipe at the Congress party, saying that Shiv Sena was always ready for an electoral battle at any given time. In a thinly veiled jibe aimed at the Congress party, Raut said parties must first emerge out of their confusion and then decide whether or not to contest polls alone.

“Some political parties in Maharashtra are speaking of fighting polls on their own. That is their lookout. But let there be no confusion on this count. One leader [State Congress chief Nana Patole] of that party says that it will fight on its own, while other leaders of that party say the opposite. So, such parties must first come out of their own confusion and then talk about how to fight the election,” Raut said.

In a scathing editorial published on its mouthpiece Saamana, Shiv Sena suggested Congress to assess its own strength before talking of fighting on its own in the upcoming polls.

Shiv Sena leader Pratap Sarnaik suggests party to snap tied with NCP and Congress, and join hands with PM Modi

The furore only intensified when the embattled Shiv sena leader Pratap Sarnaik suggested the party to reconcile with PM Modi “before it’s too late” and snap their with the NCP and Congress.

In a letter addressed to CM Uddhav Thackeray on June 10, Sarnaik urged him to align with the BJP, saying that the Congress and NCP, which are constituents in the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, were weakening the party by fomenting divisions in its ranks and also pointed out that civic polls are due in many cities, including Mumbai, in coming months. 

“It is better to join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again as Shiv Sainiks feel that it would save the Sena leaders like me, Anil Parab and Ravindra Waikar from problems caused by the Central agencies,” he said.

The ever-widening rift within the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition suggest their dream run is about to end

With the Sarnaik suggesting that Shiv Sena should re-establish their ties with the BJP, Raut had to tamp down his political brinkmanship and change his tunes to accommodate the Congress party. Days ago, Sanjay Raut mocked the Congress party in mouthpiece Saamana, asking it to estimate its strength before declaring to go solo in the upcoming polls, the Rajya Sabha MP struck a pacifying tone on Monday when he told reporters that Shiv Sena had an excellent rapport with the Congress party and that they would complete their 5 years of rule with Uddhav Thackeray as the chief minister of Maharashtra.

Clearly, the dramatic shift in Raut’s stance denotes that everything is not hunky-dory as the Sena leader wants the world to perceive. Behind the veneer of normalcy, as alleged by Raut, an intense tussle is underway among the coalition partners, and such volte-faces only goes to show that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra might be on a precarious terrain, almost on the verge of an inevitable split. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the storied alliance that was forged for the express purpose of keeping the BJP at bay in Maharashtra to implode in the times to come.

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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