Seven months since it came into existence, the tensions within the Maha Vikas Aghadi seem to be gradually rising to the surface with its two biggest constituents — Shiv Sena and NCP — indulging in political jousting.
On Monday, Sena preferred to join hands with its former ally BJP, which had extended support to the party to take control over the Kalyan Panchayat Samiti.
The Sena’s decision to join hands with BJP, though it had an option to tie-up with its ally NCP, comes in the backdrop of NCP luring five Sena corporators from Parner Municipal Council and making them join the Sharad Pawar-led party in Baramati in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday.
In the 12-member Kalyan Panchayat Samiti, BJP has five members, followed by Sena with four and NCP three.
The local leadership of the allies had decided that NCP would be given the opportunity to filed its candidate for the posts of chairperson and deputy chairperson of the panchayat samiti. However, Saturday’s incident about Parner is said to have led the Sena top brass to have a change of heart.
The BJP’s local wing had, meanwhile, reached out to Sena, offering its unconditional support for the Kalyan Panchayat Samiti. Subsequently, Sena on Sunday filed the nomination for the posts of chairperson and deputy chairperson of the panchayat samiti and won both, angering local NCP leaders, sources said.
Additionally, Sena has also tied up with BJP in two other panchayat samitis — Ambernath and Bhiwandi — to keep allies NCP and Congress away from sharing the posts of chairperson and deputy chairpersons, sources added.
While Sena leaders remained tight-lipped over the issue, claiming that local leaders were empowered to form strategic alliances in their areas, the buzz is that the move is a warning to NCP and Congress, as the Sena leadership has not taken kindly to the poaching of its corporators.
On Monday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, through his personal assistant and party secretary Milind Narverkar, conveyed to Ajit Pawar to send the five corporators back to Sena, sources said. The topic also came up for discussion during the meeting that Sharad Pawar had with Uddhav in Mumbai.
Seven months on, the three allies are increasingly feeling the pulls and pressures of maintaining the coalition with fault lines emerging between the parties.
Congress, the third ally, had last month complained of not being taken into confidence for key decisions and meetings, with the party’s seniormost minister, Ashok Chavan, saying that there was a growing feeling among some party ministers that they weren’t being consulted for even decisions pertaining to their own departments.
Last week, Sharad Pawar had expressed strong displeasure over Mumbai Police’s order of restricting the movement of residents to a two-km radius around their homes, following which Uddhav had asked the police to relax the rule. Revocation of the transfer of Navi Mumbai civic commissioner Annasaheb Misal, within 24 hours of his transfer last month, was also the result of disagreements between NCP and Sena.
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