Amid Sena-BJP Buzz, A "Congress Chief Minister" Comment: 10 Points

After a public row over Congress leader Nana Patole's comments about going it alone in the next assembly polls, the Shiv Sena, as well as Congress, have denied any threat to Government in Maharashtra.

File photo from Uddhav Thackeray and PM Modi's meeting on Maratha quota.

Mumbai: In a public row within Maharashtra's ruling coalition, the Shiv Sena's efforts to project unity have been blunted by another Congress googly. Next time, the alliance will have a "Congress Chief Minister", the party's Prithviraj Chavan has said.

Here are the top 10 points of this big story:

  1. Mr Chavan today said his comment was meant to galvanise Congress workers. "By Congress Chief Minister I meant the Congress will be the largest party in the alliance," said the former Chief Minister.

  2. The alliance is already in damage control mode after Congress leader Nana Patole's comment that his party will contest the next assembly election alone and that its support to the Shiv Sena has an expiry date. "We formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi for five years to stop the BJP. This is a not a permanent fixture," he said on Sunday, days after talking about a solo fight.

  3. Sena leader Sanjay Raut asserted today that the allies are united and "attempts to create cracks" will not work. "Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP stand united, we are committed to run the government for five years. Outsiders who want to form government and are restless after losing power may try, but the government will continue. Attempts may be made to create cracks between the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena but it won't work," Sena leader Sanjay Raut, told news agency ANI.

  4. On Saturday, Uddhav Thackeray took a sharp swipe at the Congress, his ally since 2019, when the Shiv Sena broke up with the BJP and formed a coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress to take power in Maharashtra. "If we do not offer solutions to people's problems but only talked about going it alone in politics, people will beat us with chappals. They will not listen to our party-centric, ambitious talk of contesting elections alone," Mr Thackeray said at a party gathering on the Shiv Sena foundation day.

  5. Mr Thackeray did not name the Congress but was clearly referring to Mr Patole's comments. The Sena chief did not once attack the BJP, which was telling after his meeting with PM Modi on June 8.

  6. Officially, that meeting in Delhi was on the demand for Maratha quota and Mr Thackeray's appeal for the Centre's help after it was struck down by the Supreme Court. But a one-on-one meeting between the two at Mr Thackeray's request drew a lot of interest.

  7. Just two days after that meeting, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said: "BJP owes its success in the last seven years to Modi. At present, Modi is still the tallest leader of the country and BJP."

  8. Adding to another layer to these developments, Shiv Sena MLA Prateep Sarnaik on Sunday urged his party to team up with the BJP again just to save its leaders from being harassed by central investigation agencies. "It is better to join hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi again as Shiv Sainiks feel that would save the Sena leaders...from problems," he said in a letter to Uddhav Thackeray.

  9. Mr Sarnaik also said the former allies must patch up "before it is too late", especially for upcoming corporation elections, including those in Mumbai and Thane.

  10. The BJP's response to this suggestion is loaded. "Pratap Sarnaik is a Shiv Sena leader and MLA. He has written a letter to his party chief, calling for an alliance with the BJP, which we will think about it if Uddhav Thackeray also thinks on the same lines," said state BJP president Chandrakant Patil.