Days after Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) forged an alliance, NCP leader Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that so far no talks were held among the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituents about taking the VBA on board.
Pawar said the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Thackeray-led Sena will contest the upcoming elections together.
He was talking to reporters at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.
Responding to a query about the Sena (UBT) and VBA’s alliance, the former Union minister said, “No talks were held (in the MVA) regarding Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA ahead of the elections. We do not know what is going on between the two parties…we will not discuss anything over it.” “Congress, NCP and Thackeray-led Sena will together contest upcoming elections. We have not held any discussion with Ambedkar,” he said.
The NCP and Thackeray-led Sena are part of the MVA along with the Congress. The three-party alliance was in power from 2019 till the end of June last year. The government led by Thackeray collapsed following a rebellion by his party’s senior leader Eknath Shinde and his supporting MLAs, who joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and came to power.
The BJP has reportedly said that it will seek MVA’s support so that the upcoming bypolls to the Kasba and Chinchwad assembly seats in Pune are held unopposed. Byelections are necessitated as the sitting BJP MLAs from these seats died recently. When asked about it, Pawar said, “I don’t know to whom (state BJP chief) Chandrakant Patil is writing a letter about it. I have no information on that. I don’t know how he didn’t think about unopposed elections during the bypolls in Kolhapur and Pandharpur.” When asked about the early morning oath-taking ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in November 2019, the NCP president replied, “It’s been two years now. Why are you raking up that topic?” After the 2019 Assembly poll results, Fadnavis had returned as chief minister with Ajit Pawar as his deputy on November 23 that year. Both were sworn in a hush-hush early morning ceremony, but the government lasted only 80 hours.
On a query about Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, Pawar said he is trying to bring together leaders of various parties.