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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Lok Sabha victory is only beginning, MVA will win assembly polls: Uddhav Thackeray

The "Modi sarkar" is now "NDA sarkar", and it remains to be seen how long it lasts, says Shiv Sena (UBT) chief

PTI Mumbai Published 15.06.24, 05:29 PM
Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray File photo

Upbeat after the Maha Vikas Aghadi's (MVA) "victory" in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said it was only a beginning and the opposition alliance will maintain its winning streak in the coming assembly elections in the state.

For the first time after the MVA's spectacular performance in parliamentary polls, where it won 30 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, Thackeray held a joint press conference here with his MVA allies NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan.

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The press conference followed a preliminary meeting of leaders of the Sena (UBT), NCP (SP) and Congress for preparations for the assembly elections, due in October.

People of Maharashtra showed in the Lok Sabha elections how hollow the myth of the Bharatiya Janata Party's invincibility was, Thackeray said, adding, "Lok Sabha poll victory of the Maha Vikas Aghadi is not the end, it is a beginning." "During the election campaign, I addressed my audience as `deshbhakts' (patriots)....all deshbhakts came together to save democracy," the former chief minister said, adding that people have awakened and the struggle has just started.

The "Modi sarkar" is now "NDA sarkar", and it remains to be seen how long it lasts, he said.

The BJP had ridiculed the MVA as an unnatural alliance, he noted, asking should the alliance at the Centre be now dubbed natural or unnatural.

Asked about the BJP's claim that Opposition spread fake narratives during the elections, Thackeray said, "What do you call the narrative about INDIA alliance planning to take away people's wealth and distributing it among those with more children, take away mangalsutra, buffalos and cut off water connections?" To some BJP leaders' jibe that the Shiv Sena led by him got votes of Muslims but not those of Marathi-speakers, its traditional support base, Thackeray said patriotic people cutting across religions voted for the opposition alliance and they included both Muslims and Marathi-speakers.

Referring to the BJP's losses in Uttar Pradesh and especially the defeat in Faizabad constituency where Ayodhya is located, Thackeray said the Lok Sabha results made Lord Ram "BJP-mukt" (free of BJP).

He dismissed speculation that he may return to the BJP-led NDA. "Suppose I plan to switch allegiances, would I announce it sitting with these people (Pawar and Chavan)?" Thackeray asked.

Both Thackeray and Sharad Pawar ruled out the possibility of taking back rebel leaders from their respective parties.

Notably, there was talk of some leaders from the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and NCP led by deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar returning to Sena (UBT) and NCP (SP).

Thackeray also referred to Union minister Amit Shah's past speeches denying any possibility of alliance with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar, both of whom are now supporting the Narendra Modi government.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan averred that after the Lok Sabha results, change of government was imminent in Maharashtra.

"There is no elder brother and younger brother in our alliance. We will fight to win in each and every assembly segment and field candidates who can ensure the alliance's victory. We will begin our preparations soon," he said.

Asked about who will be the chief ministerial candidate of the MVA, Thackeray said, "Let the ruling alliance first tell who is their CM choice." Sharad Pawar took a swipe at the prime minister, saying, "We thank PM Narendra Modi for making political atmosphere conducive for the MVA." The BJP and its allies lost wherever Modi held roadshows and addressed rallies in Maharashtra, he said.

Asked about some RSS leaders questioning the wisdom of the BJP's decision to include Ajit Pawar in the ruling alliance, Pawar senior quipped, "They spoke of their experience." In the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 13 seats, a quantum jump from the solitary seat it had won in the state in 2019, while the Shiv Sena (UBT) bagged nine and the NCP (SP) eight seats. A Congress rebel, Vishal Patil, also won and later extended support to the Grand Old Party.

The Sena (UBT) had contested 21 seats, followed by Congress at 17 and NCP (SP) at ten.

In comparison, the ruling Mahayuti coalition could win just 17 of 48 seats, with the BJP's seat tally coming down drastically to nine from 23 in 2019.

The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena won seven seats, while the Ajit Pawar-led NCP got only one seat.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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