MUMBAI: Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Wednesday described NCP chief Sharad Pawar as the “remote control” of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
Patole made the remark while speaking to a regional news channel.
The NCP is the second largest constituent of the MVA after the Shiv Sena, which heads the three-party ruling coalition.
The Congress is the third partner in the MVA.
Asked why he was not invited to Pawar’s residence on Tuesday when a group of state Congress leaders met the NCP patriarch, Patole said, “The meeting was for the state government and its coordination. It was not a party-level meeting. He (Pawar) is indeed the remote control of this MVA government.”
Pawar is considered the chief architect of the MVA which came to power in November 2019 under the stewardship of Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
‘Remote control’ is a term commonly used to underscore a person’s influence over the government of the day without holding any constitutional post.
The term was first used in Maharashtra in reference to Sena founder late Bal Thackeray during 1995-99 when the Shiv Sena-BJP combine was in power, to denote his considerable influence over the state government.
Talking to reporters earlier in the day, Patole, in a veiled attack on the NCP in the context of the 2014 assembly elections, said his party was “cheated” seven years ago and it is now preparing for the 2024 general elections keeping that in mind.
Patole was apparently referring to the NCP’s move to contest the 2014 assembly elections in Maharashtra separately.
“The Congress has gone through such cheating. We want to ensure that in the next major election, we will not face such a situation again,” said the former state Assembly speaker.
Patole recently kicked up a row when he sought to suggest that the MVA government was keeping an eye over his movements and claimed the Shiv Sena and the NCP feel the ground was slipping from beneath their feet due to his party’s growing influence.
As his “under watch” remarks caused a flutter, Patole on Monday claimed wrong information was being spread through the media and asserted there was no dispute among MVA allies.