Congress ploughs a separate furrow in Maharashtra

Even as tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is putting up a united face to the opposition allegations, the internal tussle is seem to be growing in the coalition, with the Congress’s bid to shine brighter than the allies.

Three instances in past one month have seen the Congress take a stand contrary to the government or its allies. Party leaders however downplayed the differences saying the context for each is different and the Congress is committed to the government.

In the first instance, the party’s Dalit leader and State Power Minister Nitin Raut strongly objected to the State government’s decision on denying reservation in promotion saying the government resolution was contrary to what was discussed in the Cabinet meeting. Following this, three other Congress ministers — Tribal Development Minister K.C. Padvi, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad and Mr Raut held a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. The issue was discussed in the Cabinet yet again. Though no final decision has been reached, Mr Raut is adamant in seeking withdrawals of the said GR.

Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap, who has already announced that the party will contest on all 227 wards in Mumbai in upcoming civic polls, slammed the ruling Shiv Sena alleging corruption worth hundreds of crore in pre-monsoon nullah cleaning in the city. State Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Vadettiwar’s attempt to overpower Chief Minister office by announcing unlock rules directly hit the government’s top boss. Mr Vadettiwar’s move was not appreciated by the CMO and it issued clarifications saying the proposal was under consideration.

Political observers see a well-defined pattern and strategy in Congress functioning. “This is definitely not random. It’s well-thought of strategy to address core voter and keep party’s different identity intact,” said Abhay Deshpande, political commentator and senior journalist.

He said the party needed to address the perception of Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar running the government. “Nobody can predict what will happen in next polls. It is important for Congress to not play second fiddle and keep its base as well as identity intact,” he said.

According to Ashish Dua, Secretary, All India Congress Committee (AICC) and in-charge of Maharashtra unit three incidents are not identical. “We stick with Cabinet decisions on reservation in promotion issue. Our Minister has not taken any contradictory stand. In Mumbai civic body, we are the principal opposition and it is our duty to give constructive inputs,” said Mr. Dua. When asked whether this will continue, Mr Dua said that the party will continue raising the people’s issues.

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