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Congress divided in Maharashtra

Amid political uncertainity, Congress shifted its 44 MLAs-elect to a resort to avoid “poaching” attempts.

Amid political uncertainity, Congress shifted its 44 MLAs-elect to a resort to avoid “poaching” attempts.   | Photo Credit: ANI

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Newly elected MLAs stay put in resort, authorise Sonia to nominate CLP leader

Amid the political uncertainty in Maharashtra, the newly elected Congress MLAs from the State, staying at a luxury resort, near here, on Sunday authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to nominate the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

The party declared that it had accepted the mandate to sit in the Opposition.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde arrived in the evening to convey Ms. Gandhi’s message to the MLAs and interact with them to get their views on the party’s stand on the formation of a government.

Chavan stand

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who is in Jaipur, however, said the party had “not yet decided anything”.

“We are keeping an eye on the recent developments. We are discussing all the options before us. We have not decided anything yet,” Mr. Chavan told ANI over the phone.

He said the Congress wanted a stable government and not President’s Rule.

The party’s Maharashtra in-charge, Mallikarjun Kharge, who met the MLAs, told presspersons that people had given the Congress the mandate to sit in the Opposition, which the party had accepted.

The party’s core committee met twice on Sunday to discuss the Governor’s invitation to the BJP to form a government in the State.

Considering the threat of “poaching” amid a political impasse in Maharashtra, the Congress shifted its 44 MLAs-elect on Friday and Saturday to the resort on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway, about 20 km from the city. They include the senior leaders Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat.

At the CLP meeting in the resort, the MLAs passed a brief resolution favouring the continuation of the alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and authorised Ms. Gandhi to nominate the CLP leader. After the meeting, several of them left for places of worship in Ajmer and Pushkar.

“Now, it is for the Congress high command to take a decision... There is no truth in the [purported] statements about supporting Shiv Sena. Those who have the mandate should form the government,” he said.

Mr. Kharge said the Congress, along with the NCP, was willing to play the role of a responsible Opposition and raise people’s issues in the Assembly.

The MLAs are likely to stay in the resort until the perceived threat of poaching subsides and a clear picture emerges on the government formation. 

The Congress had earlier alleged that its legislators were being “threatened and enticed” in Mumbai and huge amounts of money were being offered to them for defection. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 2:29:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cong-to-sit-out-in-maharashtra/article29938460.ece

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