Updated: June 30, 2022 9:20:04 am
After over 40 of its sitting MLAs rebelled citing their “political emasculation” by the NCP, the Shiv Sena has now been urged by its former legislators also to quit the ruling alliance with the Congress and the NCP “to keep the party organisation intact”, according to a former minister.
“The Shiv Sena legislators under the leadership of Eknath Shinde have taken the right decision of not continuing with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance with the Congress and the NCP, and joining hands with the BJP, citing Hindutva. I have been in touch with many former Sena legislators across the state and everyone is of the same view: stand with Shinde,” said former minister Vijay Shivtare on Wednesday.
He was defeated in the 2019 election by Sanjay Jagtap, a Congress candidate supported by the NCP.
According to Shivtare, though the Sena managed to get the post of chief minister after joining hands with the Congress and the NCP, the party has suffered a lot at the local level in the past two and a half years. “The Shiv Sena is much more important to us than the MVA. You, as chief of the Shiv Sena, should take into consideration the desire of the rebel legislators and others to quit the MVA,” he said in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
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As of now 51 legislators have demanded the Sena quit the alliance, the former minister said, “The Sena lost to Congress and NCP candidates in 52 seats in the 2019 Assembly elections. Of the total 90.5 lakh votes polled by the Sena, around 44 lakh went to Sena candidates who lost to Congress and NCP candidates. Thus, it will be an injustice to the 44 lakh Shiv Sena voters to continue with the Congress and the NCP as these political parties are all set to stake claims for the seats in any pre-poll alliance for the next Assembly election.”
Shivtare said that Sena office-bearers in Purandar taluka and representatives in various local bodies had unanimously passed a resolution saying they did not want to be part of the MVA if the party leadership decided to continue with the alliance. “Our priority is to ensure the survival of the Shiv Sena. It is a cause for concern that former Lok Sabha MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, elected thrice from Shirur, had to suffer because of the NCP in his constituency. It is a serious issue,” he said.
While addressing a recent Sena rally, Patil said the party should part ways with the Congress and the NCP and that the alliance was badly affecting it.
Shivtare said, “Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is a simple and good person. The NCP has taken advantage of his simplicity and damaged the Shiv Sena at the local level.”
The former minister trained guns on the Pawar family for shifting mega development projects in the Purandar Assembly constituency to Baramati, considered a fief of the NCP chief. “The international airport was approved by the former saffron alliance government in Purandar, but the NCP has managed to shift it to Baramati. The water from the Gunjavani dam was meant only for Purandar, Velhe and Bhor taluka, but they have got the state government to supply it to Baramati,” Shivtare said.
Purandar is part of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency represented by Supriya Sule, daughter of Pawar. Pawar and Shivtare had been at loggerheads for the past few years. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar publicly challenged Shivtare on his re-election to the Assembly in 2019.
A few days ago, Sena leader Sachin Ahir, district in-charge for Pune, organised a rally in Pune in support of Thackeray. It was attended by Maval MP Shrirang Barne, former MP Patil, former legislators Mahadeo Babar and Chandrakant Mokate along with party office-bearers.
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