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Why Congress-led 'united Opposition' is already in disarray in Maharashtra

Kiran Tare
Kiran TareAug 19, 2018 | 13:08

Why Congress-led 'united Opposition' is already in disarray in Maharashtra

The SSS had pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) six months ago.

Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan is a busy man nowadays. With a hope of arresting the BJP’s phenomenal growth in the state, he has taken an initiative to bring “like-minded” people within the Congress.

However, his plan might go haywire as some small parties are likely to play spoilsport.

Under Chavan, the Congress has held three meetings so far with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) and the Left parties for a possible alliance in the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

chavan-inside_081918124237.jpgChavan wants an alliance of like-minded parties in Maharashtra for both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections (Photo: Mail Today)

The SSS had pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) six months ago after dispute over its agriculture policies. Chavan is also keen on taking Bharip-Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) headed by prominent Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar along. However, Ambedkar and MP Raju Shetti of SSS might derail Chavan’s plan of a united Opposition. They have already announced their candidates in some constituencies even before the Congress approached them. It will be a big task for Chavan to convince them to withdraw and join hands with the Congress.

With only 42 members in the 288-member Assembly, Chavan has focused on building organisational set up at the grassroots level. He has set up social media teams in each of the 38 districts with a target of reaching to every voter and addressing the issues s/he is facing.

He wants to repeat a feat when the Congress had won 81 seats under his leadership in 2009, the highest by the party since 1985. Chavan’s effort to set up a united Opposition is a part of his plan to repeat the 2009 performance.

prakash_081918124252.jpgAmbedkar also has announced candidates in 14 Assembly constituencies. 

He has announced that Congress is ready to ally with NCP, SP, Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), SSS, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India — Marxist (CPI-M), BBM, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), People’s Republican Party (PRP), Republican Party of India — Gavai fraction (RPI-G) and other parties. Shetti has announced that SSS state president Ravikant Tupkar will contest the Lok Sabha poll from Buldhana whereas another young leader Anil Pawar will be the candidate from Madha in Solapur.

At present, Madha falls in NCP quota where its senior leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil is the MP.

raju-shetty_081918124524.jpgShetti does not want to be on the same boat with the NCP.

Shetti is not in a mood to give up Madha, once represented by his bête noire Sharad Pawar. Shetti has expressed his desire to go with the Congress but not with the NCP. He has staked claim on six seats in the Congress quota. Ambedkar also has announced candidates in 14 Assembly constituencies with a permutation and combination of caste factor. He wants the Congress to leave these seats for the BBM. The Congress is not willing to budge before the demands by Shetti and Ambedkar. Chavan is hopeful of sorting out the differences.

“The seat-sharing talks are yet to start,” he said. “There will certainly be some way to arrive at the consensus as every party wants to throw out BJP.”

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: August 19, 2018 | 13:08
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