Amid speculations of a rift between the ruling allies in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting with the alliance partners at Varsha bungalow today.
The move comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that his party is “not a key player” in running Maharashtra government.
Congress had played a very significant role in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray after a month of political drama in the state. It was the Congress whose voice was the most significant in the government formation as the whole arithmetic depended on its 44 MLAs.
However on the COVID-19 crisis in the state, Gandhi commented, “We are only supporting the government and are not a key player in the state”.
Hours after Rahul Gandhi sidelined Congress from the Coronavirus crisis in Maharashtra, senior party leader Sanjay Nirupam slammed chief minister Uddhav Thackeray over the major health crisis.
“The Chief Minister keeps speaking to the public. If he could have similar consultations regularly with his alliance partners then he would not have to do 60 flip-flops in 60 days,” NDTV quoted former Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam as saying.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s statement is seen as a setback for the MVA government in Maharashtra where hectic politics is going on.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday evening, though all speculations were rejected by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday.
The two leaders held a meeting for about one-and-a-half hours, said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday while asserting that the state government is “strong”.
The Sena Rajya Sabha MP, however, did not reveal what transpired between the two leaders.
The meeting between Thackeray and Pawar took place after the NCP chief met state Governor BS Koshyari on Monday morning.
Amid the ongoing row between the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre and the Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government over the issue of migrants’ trains and the COVID-19 pandemic, hectic politicking started in the state on Monday, sparking off speculation.
Tongues started wagging as NCP President Sharad Pawar went to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, in what was described by both sides as a “courtesy call”.
Later on Monday afternoon, it was the turn of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to meet the Governor and reportedly demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state. Among various things, Rane has claimed the government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had failed to handle the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in the state.
Rane’s demand came days after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis called on Koshyari and complained that the Thackeray government had bungled in handling the coronavirus situation.
The Nationalist Congress Party is one of the key constituents of MVA.
Pawar was one of the key leaders from Maharashtra who had earlier openly complained about Koshyari’s “intervention” in the functioning of the state administration.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday categorically denied any plans of BJP to topple the six-month old Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
However, he also warned that the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance regime would “collapse” on its own, owing to their internal contradictions.
“We are not interested in toppling the government. Hamara kaam bhagaana nahin hai, par jagaana hai,” Fadnavis asserted.
He accused the MVA partners of indulging in “cover fire” tactics to hide their own failures in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the state by spreading rumours like that the BJP is trying to bring down the government, or BJP wants President rule in the state.
He further said that what the state requires in this critical time is “assertive leadership” and tough decision making which is apparently lacking, but the BJP is here to play the role of “a constructive opposition” by speaking up for the people of the state.
On the MVA allies’ charge that the BJP leaders keep rushing to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari frequently, Fadnavis vehemently defended himself.
“The government functions under the name of the Governor. The Chief Minister and Cabinet play an advisory role, those who read the Constitution will be aware of this. It’s my duty and my right to approach the Governor’s office,” he said.