Congress, Uddhav-led Sena begin review of Maharashtra Lok Sabha seats, with uncertainty over Sharad Pawar’s NCP faction 

Sharad Pawar’s meetings with his nephew and rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar has prompted the Sena (UBT) and the Congress to think ahead in case Pawar senior’s faction allies with the BJP, despite his denials of it

Updated - August 15, 2023 06:50 pm IST

Published - August 15, 2023 05:20 pm IST - Pune

Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray. File.

Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

With a cloud hanging over the future of the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction, Mr. Pawar’s allies in the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) — the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) — have respectively begun taking stock of all 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.  

Mr. Pawar’s repeated meetings with his nephew, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, despite the latter splitting the NCP last month to align with the ruling BJP-Eknath Shinde government, has prompted the Sena (UBT) and the Congress to suspect that Pawar senior’s faction may ally with the BJP in the future, despite his denials of it.

According to sources, the two MVA parties are preparing for the 2024 General Election knowing they might have to go without Mr. Sharad Pawar’s NCP faction, despite the latter’s assurance that his NCP faction would have nothing to do with the BJP.

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Tuesday said that while the NCP chief’s meetings with Mr. Ajit Pawar were certainly a cause for concern for the future of the MVA alliance, a decision on it would only be taken by the party’s top brass.

Also read | Deciphering Maharashtra’s defections, its politics

“I have said before that the meetings [between Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar] are a cause for worry. These clandestine meetings are improper. But discussions on this matter will be held at a higher level, that is, the Opposition INDIA bloc. It is not right for me to comment on it,” Mr. Patole said.

He remarked that the Congress’ stance was clear and that it would take anybody who was willing to fight the BJP.

Soon after Mr. Sharad Pawar’s meeting with Mr. Ajit Pawar on August 13, Mr. Patole held a long meeting with the Thackeray-led Sena (UBT) leadership to deliberate on the future course of the MVA.

The Congress has already appointed observers to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra to study every segment and submit a report to the party high command before August 15. The party has also decided to launch a march by foot (padayatra) from August 16 to August 31.

Also Read | Analysis | A tale of two coups — Ajit Pawar-led NCP faction seeks to avoid Sena vs Sena bitterness 

Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut said there was no such decision as yet on the Congress and his faction contesting the General Election without Mr. Sharad Pawar’s NCP faction,

“We hope that the MVA will remain together till the end without any aspersions cast on the role of any of the constituents,” Mr. Raut said.

Like the Congress, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena (UBT), too, will begin its stock-taking meet to review all 48 Lok Sabha constituencies over the next four days, sources said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sharad Pawar’s daughter, Baramati MP Supriya Sule, said there ought not to be any confusion on the point of whether their faction would ally with the BJP when Mr. Sharad Pawar had already made clear he would never go with the saffron party.

Pawar senior loyalist Jitendra Awhad, too, said the NCP chief had made clear he would not compromise in any manner with the BJP.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.