September 30, 2021 1:17:56 am
Despite the regular outbreak of tension between local leaders of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, state leaders of the parties have brushed off these differences as “nothing much”, and maintained they would not impact relations between the allies during the upcoming local body elections.
Over the last few months, there have been several instances of these differences in many districts erupting into the open. This is happening despite the fact that the senior leaders of all three parties are putting up a united front at the state level.
Leaders from all three parties concede that differences exist between the allies at the district level driven by local issues and equations, quite removed from the modus vivendi that the three parties have forged at the state level.
With over 190 municipal councils, more than 10 municipal corporations and 25 zilla parishads due for elections later this year and early next year, such differences are being expressed more openly and loudly.
On Sunday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, while addressing party workers, said that there is a resentment among the cadre over NCP neglecting them and urged Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to listen to them.
Recently, Suhas Kande, Shiv Sena MLA from Nandgaon in Nashik, had moved the Bombay High Court seeking the removal of senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal as the guardian minister of Nashik district over alleged discrimination in allotment of funds to his constituency.
“Each party favours its cadres and issues raised by them. If regular meetings and interactions take place at the district level between the three parties, then the differences may be reduced and it will lead to strengthening the MVA,” said Raghunath Kuchik, Deputy Shiv Sena leader from Pune.
A Sena leader from Nashik said that there were similar differences between Sena and BJP in the previous BJP-Sena government as well. “The BJP, which was more powerful, used to run its show in many places. This was despite the fact that we had an alliance with BJP for 25 years. Such differences will not have much impact on polls,” said the leader, adding that Shiv Sainiks had always fought against Congress and NCP and it would be difficult to bury the differences immediately.
Nawab Malik, NCP minister and party’s chief spokesperson, said, “Whether it is a single party or an alliance of two or three parties, differences are there at the local level. In an alliance, leaders and party workers need to understand the situation and work accordingly.”
A Congress leader pointed out that though Congress and NCP were in power for three terms, the local bodies elections are fought separately.
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