Mumbai civic poll: As cloud hangs over future of MVA, Pawar urges partymen to begin civic poll preparations without expectation of alliances 

Another schism between the three partners recently emerged after Mr. Thackeray announced support for the BJP-led NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu in the July 18 Presidential election

July 14, 2022 10:16 am | Updated 10:16 am IST - Pune

With uncertainty shrouding the future of the three-party ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ coalition following Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s intra-party rebellion, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has exhorted his partymen to start preparing for the upcoming Mumbai civic body poll without the expectation of alliances.

Following Mr. Shinde’s revolt and the toppling of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government, a cloud hangs over the future of the coalition - now comprised of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction, the NCP and the Congress.

At a meeting of party workers to plan for the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) poll on Wednesday, Mr. Pawar is believed to have urged his partymen to go ahead with the preparations without thinking of who would fight alongside them.

Mr. Pawar, considered the ‘architect’ of the ideologically opposed MVA during its formation in late 2019, has expressed hopes that the MVA would continue to fight future elections as a united entity.    

However, another schism between the three partners recently emerged after Mr. Thackeray announced support for the BJP-led NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu in the July 18 Presidential election, much to the chagrin of the Congress.

Meanwhile, the breakaway Sena faction of 50 MLAs (including 39 Sena legislators) led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, which attributed the ‘dominance’ of the NCP in the erstwhile MVA government as being one of the prime reasons for their rebellion, continued its criticism of Mr. Pawar.

The spokesperson of the Shinde camp, Deepak Kesarkar, blamed Mr. Pawar for being behind “every major split within the Shiv Sena” in the past.

Mr. Kesarkar, a leader from the Konkan belt, who was himself with the NCP before crossing over to the Sena, alleged that the NCP chief had ‘helped’ current Union Minister and BJP leader Narayan Rane to quit the Shiv Sena.

“He also did the same with Chhagan Bhujbal (then a Sainik and now with the NCP) and give his blessings to Raj Thackeray when he broke away from the Sena,” Mr. Kesarkar said.

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