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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

MVA unity show amid rift buzz: Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, Congress to contest Maharashtra polls together

Briefing the media after the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) first meeting since the Lok Sabha results, Uddhav, Pawar and Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress presented a picture of camaraderie on Saturday

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 16.06.24, 06:44 AM
NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray during a joint press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, June 15

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray during a joint press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, June 15 PTI photo

Amid talk of a rift, the Maharashtra alliance of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray), NCP (Sharad Pawar) and the Congress has said it would contest the upcoming Assembly elections together, maintaining they are all “equal partners”.

Briefing the media after the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) first meeting since the Lok Sabha results, Uddhav, Pawar and Prithviraj Chavan of the Congress presented a picture of camaraderie on Saturday.

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The bonhomie had appeared to be fraying over the past week with the partners —particularly the Sena and the Congress — having begun flexing their muscles for a larger share of the pie in the Assembly and Legislative Council elections.

Soon after the Congress emerged as the largest party in the Lok Sabha polls from Maharashtra with 13 seats, state unit president Nana Patole had said the party would contest 150 of the 288 seats in the Assembly elections, due later this year.

Later, the Sena unilaterally announced candidates for all four Legislative Council seats, for which elections are to be held this month. The issue was resolved amicably but the two developments underscored the fault lines in the alliance.

For now, however, the three parties have made it clear that the MVA is here to stay.

“The Maha Vikas Aghadi victory in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra is the beginning and not the end. Our alliance will win the upcoming Assembly elections in the state as well,” PTI quoted Uddhav as saying.

Uddhav was also categorical that there was no question of taking back those whohad left his party to formanother Shiv Sena (thestate’s ruling Eknath Shinde faction), also bagging the original party symbol in the process.

“Those who left us and now want to come back, they will be not taken back at all,” he said.

Pawar took the samestand about his nephew, Ajit Pawar, who had broken away to form his own NCP anddid badly in the Lok Sabha polls.

Both the breakaway Sena and NCP factions are BJP allies.

About the BJP’s accusation that the INDIA bloc — of which the MVA is akey element —had created fake narratives, both Uddhav and Pawar said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modiwho had been introducing false narratives since2014.

Among the falsehoods the Opposition accuses Modi of mouthing during pollcampaigns are his 2014promises of “achchhe din (good days)” and 15 lakh in everyone’s account, and his 2024 allegation that the Congress plannedto snatch women’s mangalsutras and redistribute them among “those who have more children” (an allusion to Muslims).

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