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Maharashtra: MVA “Thanked” Modi for Victory of Opposition Alliance

Maharashtra: MVA “Thanked” Modi for Victory of Opposition Alliance

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, June 15: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi figured prominently in the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) thanks giving exercise in Mumbai on Saturday to give compliments to the voters for supporting the three-party opposition alliance in Maharashtra in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

In a sarcastic remark on Mr Modi, the Nationalist Congress Party (SP) chief Sharad Pawar profusely thanked the Prime Minister for turning the state’s poll atmosphere in favour of the opposition alliance constituted by the Congress, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) and the NCP.

Taking a swipe at the prime Minister, Mr Pawar said wherever Mr Modi held rallies or roadshow for BJP in Maharashtra, the MVA registered victories in those places in the Lok Sabha polls. “Wherever the Prime Minister’s roadshow and rally took place, we won. That is why I consider it my duty to thank the prime minister… We thank PM Narendra Modi for making the political atmosphere conducive for the MVA,” Mr Pawar said.

Maharashtra, the second biggest state after Uttar Pradesh with 48 Lok Sabha seats, was one of the three states that dealt the biggest blow to the BJP prospects of winning a majority on its own and the Modi 3.0 government has to depend on its NDA partners to run the show. It was the first election after the Shiv Sena and the NCP split in Maharashtra to team up with the BJP to form the “Mahayuti” government in June, 2022.

The MVA on Saturday organised a joint press conference as a demonstration of unity among the alliance partners. Mr Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and the Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan addressed the media.

The BJP managed to secure only nine seats in Maharashtra from the 23 it got in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission of India data showed that the NDA failed to gain victory in the majority of the seats where Modi campaigned. Modi held multiple public meetings and a road show in as many as 18 Lok Sabha seats of Maharashtra and the NDA failed to win in 15 of those seats.

Both Mr Pawar and Mr Thackeray categorically ruled out taking back the rebels who had left their respective parties to join hands with the BJP to form a government in the state. The incumbent chief minister Eknath Shinde had caused the split in the Sena and Mr Ajit Pawar in the NCP.

While Mr Pawar ruled out the possibility of taking back his nephew, Mr Thackeray was emphatic that the rebels would not be taken back in the Sena. “Those who left me will not be taken back in the party,” he said.

Mr Thackeray said the victory of the MVA in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra was only the beginning and not the end underlined that the coming elections to the Maharashtra state Assembly due later this year would also be fought together.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said there was no big or small brother in the coalition. “We will take a decision on seat sharing by considering each assembly seat. Our preliminary discussions have already happened,” he said.

Mr Thackeray also thanked the citizen groups and several YouTube channels for their contributions during the recently concluded elections. “This was a fight to save the constitution and democracy. Assembly elections are coming shortly. This government was the Modi government and now it has become the NDA government. Now it is to be seen how long this government last,” he said.

Responding to allegations from the BJP that the MVA used a fake narrative, Mr Thackeray retorted, “What was the narrative used by Modi? What about the Mangalsutra narrative? Was it right? BJP itself gave the slogan of 400. What happened to the narrative of good days, what happened to Modi’s guarantee?”

He also compared the BJP government at the Centre to a rickshaw with three legs, echoing a metaphor used by the BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to describe the previous MVA government. “Devendra Fadnavis told us that our government is like the three legs of a rickshaw, the condition of the BJP government at the centre now is also the same,” he added.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan expressed gratitude to the people of Maharashtra for their support in the Lok Sabha elections. “We all have come together today to thank the people of Maharashtra and to express our gratitude to everyone. The people of Maharashtra have made the MVA candidates victorious. For the first time after the results of the Lok Sabha elections, the leaders of the INDIA alliance of Maharashtra have met today. This press conference is to thank the people,” Mr Chavan said.

He also voiced optimism about the assembly elections, hoping for continued support from the electorate.

“I hope that the way people voted for us in the Lok Sabha elections, we will get the same love in the assembly elections and now there will be a change of power in Maharashtra,” he said.

In the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won 13 seats, a quantum jump from the solitary seat it won in the state in 2019, while the Shiv Sena (UBT) bagged nine and the NCP (SP) eight. In the seat-sharing deal for the general elections, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party had got the largest share of seats among the three parties. Of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats, the Sena (UBT) contested 21 seats, followed by Congress at 17 and NCP (SP) at 10.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the NDA government has been formed by mistake and could fall at any time. His remarks come days after there was speculation that the BJP was struggling to keep its alliances together.

“NDA government has been formed by mistake. Modi ji doesn’t have the mandate. It’s a minority government. This government can fall anytime,” Mr Kharge said. He said the opposition INDIA alliance would continue to work together. “We would like it to continue, let it be good for the country, we should work together to strengthen the country,” he added.

Mr Kharge’s jibe at the coalition government received a swift response from NDA leaders. Janata Dal (United)’s leader asked Mr Kharge for the scorecards of prime ministers when the Congress had formed coalition governments. In the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, Congress won a similar number of seats as the BJP did in 2024. Without a clear majority, Congress formed a minority government under PV Narasimha Rao. Mr Rao then engineered a split into smaller parties, turning a minority Congress into a majority party within two years.




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