No question of taking back rebels: Uddhav, Sharad Pawar after MVA's stellar LS performance

The Shiv Sena split in June 2022 after a rebellion by Eknath Shinde, who went on to become Maharashtra chief minister, while the Nationalist Congress Party broke into two factions after Ajit Pawar joined the state government along with eight MLAs in July last year.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 13:12 IST

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Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar on Friday reiterated that they would not take back the rebels who went with Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar to form the Maha Yuti government in Maharashtra.  

Following the stellar performance of the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the Lok Sabha elections in the western state, there were speculations that some lawmakers in the Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP were trying to return to the parent camps.

"Those who left us and now want to come back, they will not be taken back at all," said Thackeray. "Besides onion, their (BJP’s) friends made them cry," Thackeray said in what was a veiled reference to Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP. 

Echoing Thackeray's sentiment, NCP founder Sharad Pawar ruled out the possibility of taking back his nephew Ajit Pawar, who left him to join the BJP-led coalition to become deputy chief minister. "There is no question of taking the rebels back," he said. 

During their first formal meeting post the Lok Sabha polls, the MVA leaders on Saturday addressed a press conference and announced that the alliance would contest the ensuing Assembly polls with a greater determination to unseat the Maha Yuti from power. 

Besides Thackeray and Pawar, the press conference was attended by veteran Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan — all former chief ministers. 

Out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the MVA bagged 30 seats. Besides, a Congress rebel who won the Sangli seat has extended support to the alliance. The BJP-led ruling camp could win only 17 seats.

The three leaders said that all were equal partners in the alliance and there is no question of big brother or small brother. 

Pawar 'thanks' Modi

Taking potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had extensively campaigned in the state during the polls, Pawar said that wherever Modi had addressed rallies or conducted roadshows in Maharashtra, the opposition alliance won. "That's why I consider it my duty to thank the prime minister," he said.

Pawar further said the alliance would fight to win in each and every Assembly segment and field candidates who could ensure the alliance's victory. "We will begin our preparations soon."

Thackeray, too, trained his guns on the BJP. Referring to the saffron party's electoral setback in Uttar Pradesh, especially the defeat in Faizabad constituency where Ayodhya is located, the former CM said the results made Lord Ram "BJP-mukt".

Mocking Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is the BJP pointsman in the state, Thackeray said the former used to compare the previous MVA government as a rickshaw having three tyres. "The condition of the BJP government at the Centre is also the same…let us see how long it lasts," he said, adding that from "Modi Sarkar" the BJP has come down to "NDA Sarkar". 

Thackeray also said people of the state showed how hollow the myth of BJP's invincibility was.

"Lok Sabha poll victory for MVA is not the end, it is the beginning," the former CM said. 

He dismissed speculation that he may return to the BJP-led NDA. "Suppose I plan to switch allegiances, would I announce it sitting with these people (Pawar and Chavan)?" Thackeray asked.

PM spreading 'fake narrative' 

Rejecting BJP’s charge that the MVA gained more seats by spreading "fake narrative”, the MVA leaders said it was Prime Minister Modi who had been spreading fake narratives and misguiding people since 2014.

The BJP leadership in Maharashtra had been claiming that MVA’s campaign plank that if the saffron party came to power with 400-plus seats it would change the Constitution was a fake narrative and it had dented the Maha Yuti.

"What is fake narrative?…where are acche din, where is Rs 15 lakh in every bank account…it is Modi who has been spreading fake narrative since 2014," Thackeray said. 

Published 15 June 2024, 13:12 IST

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