Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar Saturday advised Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde to avoid confrontation and instead ensure an accommodating nature.
The seasoned politician’s remarks came in response to the ongoing conflict between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and the Shinde-led faction of the party over the annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Dadar.
Pawar said, “A person who is occupying the contested Chief Minister’s post should work to ensure there is no confrontation. His approach should be inclusive. In that position it serves well to take everybody together. While anybody can hold a rally anywhere, utmost care should be taken to ensure there is no problem or confrontation.”
He added, “When an individual holds a high constitutional post like that of the CM’s, he/she represents all the people of Maharashtra. He cannot be seen taking any decision or acting in a way which would antagonise others.”
Pawar, who has himself led Maharashtra as the chief minister for four terms, always ensured cordial equations not only within his party but also with the Opposition. Later, when in the Centre, Pawar retained the trait of political rapport with politicians and parties across states. A case in point is his cordial relation with BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has publicly acknowledged him as a mentor.
Shivaji Park, which is the most sought after venue for public rallies, has become the bone of contention between the two Shiv Sena factions. On August 22, Uddhav Thackeray’s faction had filed an application seeking permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for a rally on the day of Dussehra. The annual Dussehra rally was started by Bal Thackeray after the party’s formation back in 1966. Later, Uddhav Thackeray continued with the tradition of the rally at the same venue.
However, after a split in the party, there is pressure on Shinde to hold the annual rally at Shivaji Park. The Shinde camp has also moved an application in BMC for permission to hold the rally, sources said.
However, if supporters of Thackeray and Shinde come face to face, it may lead to an ugly confrontation. Congress state president Nana Patole said, “It is the government’s job to ensure law and order. The CM cannot become part of partisan politics.”