The Congress on Tuesday set aside speculations about any rift among its MLAs amid the ongoing Maharashtra crisis where the grand old party is part of ruling alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Speaking to reporters, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said the party’s MLAs are together and the current turmoil is “Sena’s matter”.
“Our MLAs are with us, with Congress… It’s the Shiv Sena’s matter, they can settle themselves, their leader Uddhav Thackeray (Sena supremo and Maharashtra chief minister) is handling the matter,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his home state Gujarat, which is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Patole further called the region a “focal point of this (Maharashtra political crisis) earthquake”.
“Gujarat is the focal point of this earthquake. The Modi-led Centre, which does not believe in democracy, has conspired to topple our government,” Patole added.
The Maharashtra Congress chief said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra will fight the current impasse, and win the same as well.
Patole’s statements come hours after Congress leaders and Maharashtra cabinet ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan met Thackeray at his residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai. The NCP’s state president and minister Jayant Patil was also an attendee at the meeting.
The crisis began after Sena leader and Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde along with some party MLAs went incommunicado, and were later found to be camping at a hotel in BJP-ruled Surat in Gujarat.
Shinde later shared a tweet on “Hindutva”, saying he will never shy away from the ideas of Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. At the same time, Sena removed him as the party leader at Maharashtra legislature and appointed Mumbai MLA Ajay Chaudhary as his successor.
Sena MLAs Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak went to Surat to meet the rebel minister, but Shinde’s latest stand is about forging an alliance with the BJP. To this, Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that it has come “out of nowhere”, adding there were certain reasons why the two parties had split after 25 years of alliance and “everyone, including Shinde” are aware of the same.
Shinde, meanwhile, has edited his Twitter bio and removed ‘Shiv Sena’ from it.