Cracks in Maharashtra's erstwhile ruling coalition Maha Vikas Aghadi became visible yesterday with Congress's senior leader Milind Deora taking a hard line over the coming civic elections in Mumbai. Accusing alliance partner Shiv Sena of gerrymandering -- redrawing wards to reap benefit in elections -- he indicated that the party has not maintained coalition dharma. The Congress, he added, is "ready to walk out" if its interests are not looked after.
"If the Congress fighting for its rights is a risk to MVA, we are ready to take the risk... If someone has violated coalition dharma, the Congress is ready to walk out," Mr Deora said in an exclusive interview to NDTV.
Mr Deora -- who has been critical of the Shiv Sena even when the Congress was sharing power in the ruling alliance -- has written to the state's new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his Deputy Devendra Fadnavis, accusing the Sena of gerrymandering wards.
The Brihanmumbai Corporation, dominated by the Sena, is the country's richest civic body.
"There is no accountability in the BMC right now and democratic elections are needed. The redrawing of wards has been done to suit the interests of the Shiv Sena," said Mr Deora, who was recently appointed an observer for the assembly elections in Gujarat, due later this year.
The Congress, he added, had opposed this earlier.
Asked about the Sena's sudden decision to support NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu in the Presidential elections, he refused to comment. Then he added, "Perhaps Sanjay Raut can comment".
The Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party have supported Uddhav Thackeray over the recent turmoil in Sena that ended with the collapse of the MVA government.
Both allies had even suggested that Eknath Shinde, who was leading the rebels, be made the Chief Minister. There were reports that the Congress had even offered to quit the government and lend outside support to the Sena and NCP.