Other States

Congress a divided house on supporting Sena

Ideologies are different, says Shinde

The issue of whether to support the Shiv Sena to form a government in the State has left the Congress a divided house, even as senior Congress leaders visited Delhi on Friday to seek party president Sonia Gandhi’s opinion on the course of action if the Sena asks for help.

Former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde said there was no question of supporting the Sena given the different ideologies of the two parties. “The people of Maharashtra have given a fractured mandate. The Congress is a secular party. We cannot extend support to a party which does communal politics. We are ready to accept the people’s mandate and will perform our duties as the Opposition,” Mr. Shinde said.

‘Sonia to meet Pawar’

Senior party leaders from Maharashtra, including State party president Balasaheb Thorat, former chief minister Ashok Chavan, leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Vadettiwar and former State president Manikrao Thakre, met Ms. Gandhi on Friday evening after being kept waiting through the day.

A senior leader who attended the meeting said, “An immediate answer on whether to support Sena is not expected. But she will be meeting [NCP chief] Sharad Pawar on November 5 in Delhi, where the final decision is likely to be taken.”

Prior to the meeting, Mr. Thorat had said, “The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is responsible for the present state of political instability in Maharashtra. The Congress is keeping a watch on the situation in the State, but we feel that the manner in which the BJP is treating its alliance partner is wrong.”

Mr. Shinde said he was not aware of the reason for the senior leaders’ visit to Delhi. “I have not discussed the issue with Sonia Gandhiji. But to not support the Sena is my personal opinion, and if asked by Delhi, I will surely inform them,” he said.

Nirupam’s caution

Former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, too, cautioned the party against supporting the Sena. “The so-called dispute within the alliance is temporary. To the best of my knowledge, the Sena will never come out of the shadow of the BJP,” the Congress leader, who was earlier associated with the Sena, said.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:15:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-a-divided-house-on-supporting-sena/article29858007.ece

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