The Shiv Sena on Tuesday called its ally, Congress, an “old creaking cot” after the Sonia Gandhi-led party grumbled about not having enough say in the ruling coalition. It also asserted that there was no threat to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.
State Congress chief, Balasaheb Thorat, said the editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana was based on the wrong information. “We are with the MVA,” he added.
The editorial in the Saamana said that internal resentment was inevitable in an alliance of parties with different ideologies. The Congress was an old party with a historical legacy where murmurs of resentment are more, it said.
“The cot is old and creaks often. The cot is very old, but has historical legacy. There are many (leaders) on the cot who change their sides…whether the Congress or NCP, both parties have seasoned politicians who know when to express resentment and when to change sides,” the Marathi daily said.
But no one should harbour the idea that the MVA government will collapse and the “gates of Raj Bhavan will be opened for them early morning once again”, the Sena said.
It was apparently referring to the early morning swearing-in of BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and NCP’s Ajit Pawar as his deputy during a stand-off between the Sena and its then ally BJP over power-sharing in November.
Of late, the Congress has been seeking more say in the decision-making process. Chief minister Thackeray has been holding talks with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on important issues including the coronavirus pandemic and relief for victims of cyclone Nisarga, which has created a feeling among Congress leaders that they are being left out, Congress sources have said.
The Congress has also requested Thackeray to hold a meeting of the three parties at the earliest to finalise the names of 12 members for appointment to the Legislative Council
in the governor’s quota.
Calling the Congress the “third pillar” of the alliance government, the Saamana claimed that the Shiv Sena had “sacrificed the most” in the tripartite set-up.
“In the power-sharing, the Shiv Sena has sacrificed the most. It had to give one ministerial berth to the NCP when Sharad Pawar objected to the Congress getting the post of Assembly Speaker,” the Sena said.
Two additional cabinet berths were given to the Congress instead of the posts of minister of state, it said.
Noting that there was also a complaint about Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta getting repeated extensions which has been causing resentment in the bureaucracy, the Sena said the issue can be discussed.
“But there is no complaint that any illegal work has been done in the government. The entire bureaucracy and the administration are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but still, Uddhav Thackeray should hear out Chavan and Thorat,” it said.
The 12 Council seats should be shared on the basis of the strength of each coalition partner in the Assembly, the Sena mouthpiece said. The Sena has 56 MLAs, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44 in the 288-member Assembly.