National

Rebuild UPA to end debate on its existence: Shiv Sena to Congress

A day after he had a one-hour meeting with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sena leader Sanjay Raut told The Hindu, “If the UPA is strengthened, then people will not ask these questions.” File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Former BJP ally, the Shiv Sena has called for rebuilding the United Progressive Alliance to end the debate started by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee’s “no-UPA” comment and urged the Congress to firmly take the leadership of the alliance.

A day after he had a one-hour meeting with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sena leader Sanjay Raut told The Hindu, “If the UPA is strengthened, then people will not ask these questions.”

Mr. Raut met Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday.

Sources said Mr. Gandhi was expected to travel to Mumbai to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray.

With the Trinamool questioning the Congress’ credentials to lead an anti-BJP front, Mr. Raut, when asked about whose responsibility it would be to rebuild the UPA, said, “The responsibility falls on all of us but more than any one it was on the Congress because they are currently holding the reins of the alliance.”

The Maha Vikas Agadi has completed two years in power, belying the expectations of sceptics both within and outside the coalition, predicting its early demise. Mr. Gandhi himself was opposed to the Congress allying with the Sena.

Two-years on, the Sena has emerged as one of the key defendants of the Congress and Mr. Gandhi. Sena mouthpiece Saamana, edited by Mr. Raut, on Sunday issued a strong rebuttal to Ms. Banerjee’s remarks questioning the existence of the UPA. The editorial argued that constructing a parallel opposition group to the UPA will only strengthen the BJP and the “fascist” forces.

“It is understandable that [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and his BJP feel that the Congress should be wiped out. This is part of their agenda. But it is more dangerous when those fighting against Mr. Modi and his ideology think that the Congress should be wiped out,” the editorial said.

According to informed sources, the Sena is amenable to formally joining the UPA. But the former BJP ally is not simply going to walk over to the UPA. The Congress, many in the party feel, will have to manage the semantics and optics. It needs to be seen as making an effort to reconstruct and call new allies into the UPA.

“We cannot comment right now on whether our party will join the UPA. The fact is that there is no invitation from the Congress right now. The onus is on Mr. Gandhi, who has to go to each and every present and prospective ally to bring them on board,” another Sena leader said.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 6:04:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rebuild-upa-to-end-debate-on-its-existence-shiv-sena-to-congress/article37904702.ece

Next Story