Shiv Sena, NCP differ on Congess’s role in an anti-BJP front

“An Opposition front is not possible without the Congress,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said after a recent meeting with Rahul Gandhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Shiv Sena and the NCP, partners in Maharashtra’s ruling alliance, appear to differ on the prominence that their common ally Congress should have in any non-BJP political formation.

The Sena on Tuesday emphasised the Congress’s inevitability in any Opposition unity effort, while the NCP noted that the strength of the non-UPA MPs exceeds that of the Congress. It insisted that the anti-BJP front cannot exclude anyone, even if they are beyond the UPA umbrella.

Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee is trying to displace the Congress as the lead opponent of the BJP, and she is in discussions with NCP leader Sharad Pawar on structuring the Opposition space. Ms. Banerjee has particularly questioned former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership skills.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had an hour-long meeting with Mr. Gandhi. Emerging from the meeting. he said, “An Opposition front is not possible without the Congress. The face of the Opposition front may be a matter of discussion. Rahul Gandhi will soon visit Mumbai. There should be only one front.”

While the Shiv Sena is signalling the pre-eminence of the Congress, the NCP spoke of unity of all anti-BJP forces, with the Congress being one among the equals.

Ms. Banerjee had recently met Mr. Pawar in Mumbai. It was after this meeting that she proclaimed that “there is no UPA”.

The NCP working committee held a meeting in Delhi. Briefing the media after the meeting, NCP leader Nawab Malik said an anti-BJP front should have the Congress but at the same time other non-UPA parties should not be excluded.

“Sharad Pawarji has been saying this for some time now that not all Opposition parties are in the Congress-led UPA. In fact, the number of non-UPA MPs exceeds the UPA MPs. If we do not bring all of them on board, then it will be difficult to build an anti-BJP front,” Mr. Malik said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 10:23:36 AM |

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