Senior Shiv Sena leader and former Union Minister Anant Geete on Monday (September 21) attacked the NCP and its chief Sharad Pawar, calling him a backstabber. The attack has again underlined the fact that even though the senior leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have kept aside their differences after the formation of the coalition government around two years ago, party leaders continue to have differences at the local level in many districts.
Geete, while speaking at a party function in Raigad on Monday, said, “NCP was formed after backstabbing Congress. No matter how many titles the world may give him (Pawar), he cannot be our guru. Our guru is only (late) Balasaheb Thackeray. The Mahavikas Aghadi is merely an adjustment for power.”
Stating that he does not have any “ill-intention” towards the Sena-led MVA government, Geete said, “As long as this government is functioning, it will go on…If we separate, our home is Shiv Sena. And we will have to stick with our party and need to strengthen our party. We don’t need to think about the Aghadi (MVA alliance) but need to think of retaining power at the local bodies in our areas. The senior leaders of the party will take a call on what should be done at the state level.”
The reasons behind Geete’s attack on NCP, and Shiv Sena’s differences with NCP in Raigad
Geete was defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by NCP candidate Sunil Tatkare. A six-time MP from Raigad, Geete had served as Union Minister for Heavy Industries in the first Narendra Modi government. Following his defeat in the 2019 polls, Geete had been away from public life and had huge differences with the NCP unit in Raigad.
Not just Geete but the Shiv Sena legislators in Raigad also have huge differences with the NCP leaders in Raigad.
Last year, after the Nisarga cyclone hit Raigad and Ratnagiri districts, the Sena legislators from Raigad had taken objections against the NCP leader and Guardian Minister Aditi Tatkare over not involving them in the relief distribution to the families affected by the cyclone. Subsequently, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held meetings with the Sena and NCP leaders to resolve the issue.
Besides, in October last year, Shiv Sena legislator Yogesh Kadam from Dapoli submitted a proposal to the state Assembly Speaker Nana Patole to bring a breach of privilege motion against NCP MP Sunil Tatkare for not inviting him for the bhoomipujan program in his constituency.
Local equations in Raigad between Shiv Sena and NCP
Shiv Sena and NCP have been conventional rivals in the Raigad district from the local bodies to Assembly and Lok Sabha seats. At present, while the Raigad Lok Sabha seat is with NCP, of the total seven assembly seats in Raigad, Shiv Sena has three legislators, BJP has two, NCP has one and one is independent.
At present, of the 59 seats in Raigad Zilla Parishad, Shiv Sena has 18 members, NCP has 12 members, three members each of Congress and BJP and 23 other members. In the Panchayat Samitis in Raigad, of the total 118 seats, Sena has 41, NCP 23, Congress 12, BJP 9 and 33 others.
Raigad Zilla Parishad will also go to the polls along with the 10 municipal corporations and 25 zilla parishads, which is considered a “mini assembly” in political parlance, are likely to be held early next year and will be the first test by the people of the MVA government on its performance.
Shiv Sena and alliance partners’ stand on it
Leaders of all three parties – Sena, NCP and Congress – acknowledge that they had political differences for decades and it will take some time for the local party leaders and workers to adjust with each other after the formation of the MVA government. Prior to 2019, the Congress-NCP and Sena-BJP were having an alliance in the state. After the fallout between Shiv Sena and BJP in 2019 over sharing the chief minister’s post, the Sena, NCP and Congress came together and formed the government in November 2019.
Shiv Sena has distanced itself from Geete’s statement saying that it does not fit into the party’s discipline. “Geete’s statement on the local level differences does not fit into the party’s discipline. Geete’s statement is his personal opinion and is not the party stand. While Geete may have reasons for making such a statement, it is wrong to make a statement openly about an important leader. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will decide whether to take action on Geete,” said Sanjay Raut adding that Pawar is a national leader.
However, the leaders from the MVA have said that the decision of fighting the local bodies polls in alliance or not will be taken considering the local equations.
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