Even as the Agnipath row barely settled, another massive development in Maharashtra government kept political circles on tenterhooks as the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government was brought to the brink after Shiv Sena strongman led a rebellion and disappeared from the state, landed in Surat and ultimately in Guwahati with a bunch of MLAs in his support.
While the state government, led by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition, remained on edge over Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s rebellion and anticipating his next moves, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as per reports, boarded a plane to fly out of the country.
While some reports said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stopped in Mumbai for a few hours and met party leaders to take stock of the situation amid the political crisis, there were conflicting reports that she did make a brief stop in Mumbai but did not meet anyone and flew to the Maldives.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to pick the opportunity to take a swipe at the Congress party. Hitting out at the Gandhi siblings, BJP’s Amit Malviya tweeted on Thursday, “The Gandhis have their priority sorted. Congress leaders were made to sweat on the streets and defend Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald scam, while sibling Priyanka Vadra was busy planning a foreign trip! There is much Congress workers can learn from the Shiv Sainiks…”
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government landed in a crisis after two successive defeats of candidates of the ruling coalition in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls and the subsequent rebellion by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde.
Back-to-back political developments since the MLC poll results came out pushed the Uddhav Thackeray government to the brink and opened a door of possibilities for the BJP.
Notably, while veteran leader Kamal Nath was roped in as the troubleshooter and observer by party chief Sonia Gandhi to try and save the government, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi has not put out any statement over the crisis yet.
Priyanka Gandhi, who was seen accompanying her brother Rahul Gandhi to the ED office for his questioning in the National Herald case, had last week made an address during Congress’s ‘Satyagraha’ protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi in solidarity with youths protesting the controversial Agnipath scheme.
Urging the youth to recognise “fake nationalists”, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said the Agnipath scheme would be destructive for the youth and the Army, as she assured her party’s full support to those protesting peacefully against the new recruitment model.
“There is no bigger patriot than you. I want to tell you, open your eyes and recognise the fake nationalists and fake patriots. The entire country and the Congress are with you in your struggle,” Priyanka Gandhi said in her remarks aimed at the youths protesting the Agnipath scheme. In her address, the Congress general secretary also recited a few lines from Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s Hindi poem ‘Agnipath’ to urge the youths to persevere and keep struggling peacefully.