Days after saying that the Congress will contest the next Maharashtra Assembly polls alone and not as partners of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance, the party’s state unit chief Nana Patole on Sunday assured that his party stands strong with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray with all its might until the government completes its full five-year term. He also said that there will not be any problem from the Congress to the MVA government.
His remarks come a day after CM Thackeray, who is Shiv Sena president, said that people would “beat with footwear" those who only talk about contesting polls alone without offering solutions to people’s problems. Earlier in the day, Patole had said that the three-party MVA alliance, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, was formed in Maharashtra for five years and it is not a permanent fixture.
Talking to reporters in Pune on the sidelines of an event, Patole said, when the three parties came together to form the MVA, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had put forth only one stand that the party was joining the alliance to stop the BJP from occupying power. “Our leader Sonia Gandhi’s stand to be a part of the MVA was to prevent the BJP from coming to power. However, it had no mention that we are permanent in alliance (to even fight elections), he said.
“The Congress is standing strong with Uddhav Thackeray with all its might for all five years. There won’t be any problem (to the alliance) from the Congress. Our leader Soniaji has already given that assurance and as a state president, I am also of the same opinion," he said.
The Sena and Congress, adversaries for decades, formed government in Maharashtra along with the NCP after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party fell out with the BJP in 2019. Patole said that the Congress has taken the decision to contest the elections independently.
“We are preparing to contest the upcoming civic body elections on our own. There have been instances where parties have contested civic body elections individually without hampering the alliance in the state," he added. The Congress leader said that when the BJP and the Shiv Sena were together in power for five years, that time also they had fought the civic body elections separately.
“We are not saying anything different (about fighting the elections solo). That system is there in Maharashtra. Everyone works to make his party’s base strong and take the party ahead. Congress is also doing the same," he said. While reacting to Thackeray’s remark that “people ‘would beat with footwear’, Patole said there is no clarity about who the CM was referring to as there were statements where various parties, including Shiv Sena, BJP, and even Congress spoke about contesting elections individually.
“So, we can’t comment until we know exactly who he was referring to. Thackeray’s statement was made in the capacity of Shiv Sena chief and not as the CM. That statement might be a ‘Shiv Sena-style of talking’ and such statements were also seen when the party was in power with the BJP," the former MP said. Talking about the alleged scam in Ram mandir land purchase and donations, he said, “We have highlighted the issues in the legislative assembly. Now people understand the statement ‘Ram nam japana aur paraya maal apna’.
The Ram mandir trust also has made allegations. Various incidents are now bringing the truth out about how some people are taking benefits of Lord RamaLord Rama only will serve justice in this regard."