Maharashtra Congress chief slams Sena over feedback on UPA, BMC polls

Mumbai, December 28

Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Naseem Khan said on Monday the onus of survival of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government does not lie with his party alone and hit out at ally Shiv Sena over its comments on the UPA leadership and the 2022 BMC polls.

He said the Congress will contest all the 227 seats in elections for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), now controlled by the Shiv Sena.

AICC in-charge of Maharashtra HK Patil also hit out at the Shiv Sena, saying since it was not part of the UPA, it should not speak about changing the leadership of the coalition.

Patil said the Congress central leadership will take the state unit into confidence while deciding whether the party should contest the Mumbai civic polls alone or under the banner of the MVA.

“The Shiv Sena cannot decide how the Congress should fight the upcoming local bodies polls,” Khan said.

He was referring to chief minister Uddhav Thackerays statement that MVA allies —the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP—will contest all future polls together. Thackeray is also the Sena president.

“The Congress will fight the Mumbai civic elections (alone) and work to get its mayor elected,” the former state minister said.

Speaking at a Congress foundation day function, Khan said the Shiv Sena-led coalition government in Maharashtra will last only if the common minimum programme (CMP) chalked by the three parties is adhered to.

“One of the points in the CMP is that all the three parties will work to strengthen themselves organisationally and not weaken each other,” Khan said, referring to 18 Congress corporators in Bhiwandi town in Thane district joining the NCP recently.

“NCP leaders should have contacted our state leadership before inducting them into the NCP fold. But this did not happen.

“The NCP and the Shiv Sena should not induct our people into their fold. If such things happen, the onus of survival of this government is not on the Congress alone.

“The Shiv Sena leadership is also equally responsible to ensure that all coalition partners are taken along,” he said.

Khan said the Shiv Sena was not a member of the UPA and had no right to speak on how the Congress-led national opposition alliance should function.

“What is the locus standi of ‘Saamana’ (Shiv Sena mouthpiece) to comment on the UPA leadership. Sonia Gandhi (Congress president) is and will always remain the UPA chairperson,” he said.

“Who has given the right to ‘Saamana’ to speak on change of leadership in the UPA?” the Congress leader asked.

He demanded that the state Congress leadership take up theissue with the Shiv Sena and the NCP in the coordination committee of the MVA.

Khan said Congress MLAs were not getting funds for development of their constituencies.

Patil, speaking at the same function, said “We have given support to the Shiv Sena to form government in the state to keep the BJP away.”

“We need to strengthen the party and form a Congress- led government in the state again,” he said.

“The party (Shiv Sena), which is not even an ally of the UPA, shouldn’t comment on its leadership. It shouldn’t create confusion.

“Sonia Gandhi will remain the UPA chairperson. We will not tolerate any criticism of our leaders,” Patil said, hitting out at the Shiv Sena.

Revenue minister and state Congress president Balasaheb Thoratsaid the next mayor of Mumbai will be from the Congress. PTI MR





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