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‘Pawar warned Uddhav about growing anxiety within Sena, coalition’

According to a high-level political source, Pawar had sensed the growing dissonance among MVA leaders over the “inaccessibility” of Chief Minister Thackeray.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

MONTHS BEFORE the political crisis in Maharashtra triggered by Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had warned Uddhav Thackeray about “growing anxiety” within the Sena and leaders of the ruling MVA — even hinting at a “possible revolt”, a high-level political source told The Indian Express.

“Sharad Pawar had warned Uddhav Thackeray at least four to five months ago and had advised him to start meeting his party leaders and other ministers of MVA,” the source said.

According to the source, Pawar had sensed the growing dissonance among MVA leaders over the “inaccessibility” of Chief Minister Thackeray. “He had even warned Thackeray of a possible revolt but Uddhav didn’t pay much attention to it,” the source said.

On a few occasions, the source said, even Pawar couldn’t get an appointment with Thackeray. “Pawar was upset with the inaccessibility of the CM who was not sparing time to meet political leaders across parties,” the source said.

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Another source said Uddhav was “not regularly interacting ‘Pawar warned Uddhav about growing anxiety within Sena, coalition’ with the people concerned under him”. “Even a few MLAs of MVA had told Pawar that the CM hadn’t heard them and it was tough to speak to Uddhav. They felt isolated and unwanted in the government,” said another source.

A Congress leader said the party’s MLAs and Ministers had at least twice raised the issue with their high command in Delhi. “At times, our Cabinet Ministers required the CM’s intervention on certain projects or policies. But getting an appointment from the CMO was next to impossible,” the leader said.

Another aspect of Thackeray’s leadership that “irked” the Congress was his failure to hold consultations, especially on important decisions.

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The smaller parties and independents aligned with MVA also voiced similar concerns.

One MLA, whose party is supporting the MVA, said: “I had made 45 calls to the CMO. But there was no response.”

According to the MLA, “this attitude” of taking the smaller parties and independents for granted led to anger and many distancing themselves from the Sena during the Council and Rajya Sabha polls.

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When contacted, a Sena functionary said he was not aware of any such resentment among the MLAs. Thackeray was continuously holding meetings, and communicating with MLAs and Ministers frequently, he said.

“Despite Covid-19 and ill health, the CM was active all the time, meeting people via video conferencing,” the functionary said.

First published on: 22-06-2022 at 04:05:18 am
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Richard Marles writes | India and Australia: Partners with shared interests and entwined destinies

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