Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is taking a cautious approach as reports of disagreements within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance emerge ahead of the 2024 elections.
The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have been expressing their opinions independently, without reaching a consensus, giving the BJP an opportunity to take advantage of the situation, stated a report in Hindustan Times.
BJP figures in the state have remarked that the disunity within the MVA was not unexpected; Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier opined that the MVA ‘vajramuth’ [iron fist] had too many cracks; with it, they couldn’t have remained strong and united.
Sharad Pawar’s comments on MVA unity have created ripples in state political circles. The NCP chief has stated that there is a willingness to work together, but mere desire is not enough, and seat allotment and other issues need to be discussed before any decisions can be made. Pawar’s remarks have come amid speculations over his nephew, Ajit Pawar, joining hands with the BJP.
Pawar’s statement has raised questions about the unity of the MVA alliance. He made it clear that during his meeting with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar, the issue of the Ambedkar-led outfit joining MVA wasn’t discussed, and their talks were only about some seats in Karnataka Assembly elections. Ambedkar also confirmed that VBA’s entry into the Maha Vikas Aghadi was not discussed during his meeting with Pawar.
While Ajit Pawar has stated that he will not quit the NCP, his clarification has not helped end the speculation over his alleged links with the BJP. Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam stated that Sharad Pawar took out steam out of Opposition parties.
Chandrashekhar Bawankule, the Maharashtra BJP chief, commented that Sharad Pawar is very senior and experienced leader. He further added that if Pawar is pointing at certain aspects, it does have deeper meaning. He also said that NCP chief knows problems of MVA and whether anyone within wants to abandon the alliance or if there is tussle for leadership.
Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, has claimed that there is a move afoot to replace Eknath Shinde as chief minister. Raut was quoted saying that the BJP’s objective was to topple Uddhav Thackeray government and so Shinde was used. He said that now that their objective is fulfilled, Shinde will be replaced soon too.
Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said the Congress would move forward with those who remain within the MVA alliance. Patole was stated saying in HT report that Congress’ role is to make sure that anti-BJP parties fight together and declined to comment on NCP’s internal developments saying if Sharad Pawar stays mum, how could he speak.