THE CONGRESS and NCP have allegedly shot down Shiv Sena’s suggestion to name the possible Sena-led coalition government with support from NCP and Congress as ‘Maha Shiv Aghadi’. Instead, the coalition is now likely to be called ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’. This seems to have come handy to the state BJP, which on Thursday accused the Sena, its estranged ally, of deviating from the Hindutva plank.
BJP spokesperson Avadoot Wagh said, “Since Congress objected to the word ‘Shiv’, only Sena will be left (in the coalition). Does it mean it’s going to be Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Sena or Afzal Khan’s Sena? (Congress leader) Ahmed Patel will decide.” He added that intra-party contradictions would be a tight rope walk with the parties having divergent ideologies.
When contacted, a state Congress leader said, “The alliance is between three parties. Why should we allow the word ‘Shiv’ or ‘Sena’? Instead, we should have a neutral word like ‘Vikas’.”
Sources said Sena MP Rajendra Gavit on Thursday demanding Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the Union government, for Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar and tribal icon Birsa Munda, has come as a major embarrassment to the Congress.
As Congress is committed to secularism, the norms of the alliance is being thoroughly scrutinised, said party MP Hussain Dalwai. “There are some apprehensions, which have to be addressed through the common minimum programme of the three parties. But we have to make a difference that Sena is not RSS. Therefore, Congress-NCP-Sena alliance, to keep BJP out of power in the state, augers well for Maharashtra,” he added.
However, a Sena leader said, “It is an open secret that Sena had always held Veer Savarkar in high esteem… However, amid the prevailing political situation, we have agreed for some political adjustments. Whether it is Sena, Congress or NCP, we all are going to be bound by a common minimum programme.”
The BJP, meanwhile, was quick to point out how the visit to Ayodhya by Uddhav Thackeray was shelved following “pressure” from Congress.