Upset at being sidelined in the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in Maharashtra, the Congress on Thursday instructed its state leaders to assert themselves in the alliance.
In a meeting chaired by All India Congress Committee’s Maharashtra in charge H K Patil at the Vidhan Bhavan, all party ministers and legislators were specifically asked not to take things lying down even from the allies.
Sources said that Patil issued the directives after several legislators complained that the Congress was not being given its due in the alliance even a year later. Some of them even accused the NCP and the Shiv Sena of trying to poach Congress leaders and targeting party strongholds in the state.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Patil later said, “No one should cross the Laxman Rekha. All the allies should follow the coalition dharma.” At the party meeting, Congress ministers were also instructed to “pull up their socks” and push Congress’s “people welfare” policies more aggressively. With the Shiv Sena and the NCP seen as bagging most credit for projects implemented in the first year of the coalition’s rule in the state, Patil also asked party ministers to formulate an action plan to publicise their work.
The Congress has also toughened its stance on the pending power sharing in statutory corporations and government positions at the taluka and the block level among the allies. Senior ministers were asked to ensure that at least the Congress share of these appointments is filled up in the next month or so.
While saying that he was happy that there weren’t many problems in the first year of the coalition’s rule, Patil told The Indian Express that “pace of the work should now pick up.” He was asked whether the Congress was happy with the first year performance. “The pace of work is not enough. It should pick up,” he said.
Setting the Congress’s plans for the crucial 2022 Mumbai municipality poll in action, the Congress has hotfooted the proposal for the appointment of the full-time party chief in the commercial capital. The party has gone without a permanent nominee since last July when former MP Milind Deora had stepped down from the post.
Patil said, “The Mumbai Regional Congress Committee will have a new president by the end of December.” Names of former Maharashtra minister Suresh Shetty, MLC Ashok (Bhai) Jagtap, Amarjeet Manhas, Charan Sapra are believed to be in contention for the post.
On Wednesday, Patil held discussions with party’s Mumbai corporators on their choice for the post. Patil further said that the party will go in action mode for the Mumbai polls from January 2021 onwards.
He, however, said that no concrete discussions had so far been held on whether to go to the polls in alliance with the other MVA partners or not. Most Congress corporators are not in favour of fighting the civic elections jointly with the Shiv Sena.
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