Is Congress being sidelined by Thackeray-Pawar in Maharashtra?

The Maha Vikas Aghadi, a coalition of NCP, Shiv Sena, and INC, headed by Udhhav Thackeray has been allegedly sidelining Congress in its decision making. The Congress party publicly declared its disdain against being sidelined by the National Congress Party, and Shiv Sena. Thus, there seems to be nothing good in the alliance as of now.

A meeting was held on Thursday, 11th of June which comprised of several leaders, including Balasaheb Thorat, who is the Maharashtra Congress  Party chief, and revenue minister in Uddhav Thackeray’s government. Balasaheb Thorat told reporters after the meeting about their need to be included in the political decisions made by the Maha Vikas Aghadi. He also insinuated that they were not being included in the political decision-making process of MVA. “We discussed certain issues of the state…we have certain demands, there are certain issues. We are three parties in the government and we too expect to be involved in the decision-making process. We will talk to the Chief Minister on this issue”, said Thorat.

This meeting was held at Sunil Kedar’s house. Sunil Kedar is the animal husbandry development minister, the attendance of the meeting included PWD minister Ashok Chavan, Satej Patil, Varsha Gaikwad, Vijay Wadettiwar, and Nana Patole.

The reason for Congress’s aggravation can be traced backed to Udhhav Thackeray’s letter to the central Government, asking for Ajoy Mehta’s extension as the Chief Secretary. Congress is not supportive about the idea of Ajoy Mehta’s extension. Mehta is to retire on June 30th.

The Shiv Sena and NCP are allegedly dominating INC in Maharashtra government. Several leaders have spoken about the lack of attention being paid to Congress ministers, and their inputs on running the state at the time of COVID19 crisis. Congress has expressed its resistance regarding the idea of Ajoy Mehta’s term extension. The party has also put forth views surrounding the the removal of Nagpur Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe.

Congress has also spoken up about being sidelined by the bureaucracy and has blamed it for not taking up any work other than that of the NCP or Shiv Sena. A Congress Party leader has also mentioned the fact that all major decisions are being made without their consultation, and solely by Sharad Pawar, who is the NCP chief. They need the bureaucracy to take Congress leaders seriously.

This is not the first time that Congress leaders have felt neglected by Shiv Sena and NCP in the MVA.

Last Month, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam expressed his anger against Maharashtra CM and MVA President Uddhav Thackeray. He said that Uddhav Thackeray was not paying much heed to Congress leaders in Maharashtra. Nirupam believed that Maharashtra CM should “communicate more” with its coalition partners. The former Mumbai Congress Chief, Sanjay Nirupam said, “The Chief Minister keeps speaking to the public. If he could have similar consultations regularly with his alliance partners, then he would not have to do 60 flip-flops in 60 days.”. Nirupam also blamed Thackeray for making often wrong and hasty decisions regarding the coronavirus, which is deepening the coronavirus crisis in the state.

Does Maharashtra need a better governance? Clashes amidst the coalition partners during an ongoing coronavirus crisis is not at all a good sign, especially when the state is the number one in coronavirus cases contributor in the Country. What needs to be dealt is the current COVID19 crisis in the state, but the alliance partners in Maharashtra Government are busy in petty politics with each other.