Senior Congress leaders from Maharashtra on Tuesday held a meeting with the party leadership here to discuss the political situation in the state in the wake of the split in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP. The Congress has now emerged as the largest opposition party in Maharashtra and staked claim to the post of Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
Congress leaders are discussing the aftermath of the NCP split and how it will affect the party’s prospects in the state ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi were present during the meeting at the AICC headquarters here. “The BJP has hurt the self-respect of Maharashtra by using its ‘washing machine’.
The Congress party will give a befitting reply to this political fraud. The people of Maharashtra will give a strong political response to the continuous attacks on the mandate by the BJP,” Kharge said in a tweet in Hindi. “Our leaders and workers will help the people of Maharashtra get back their government. We have always maintained our place in the minds of the people of Maharashtra. We will further strengthen the glorious relationship between Maharashtra and the Congress,” the Congress chief said. Gandhi said Maharashtra is the “bastion” of the Congress party.
“Our focus is on strengthening the Congress party there and raising the voice of the people. Together, we will ensure that this anti-people government is defeated,” he said in a Facebook post. The deliberations come after a faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Ajit Pawar switched over to join hands with the NDA. Ajit Pawar has since joined the NDA government in Maharashtra and has taken over as deputy chief minister.
AICC in-charge for Maharashtra H K Patil and PCC chief Nana Patole were also present at the meet, besides senior party leaders Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan. The NCP, founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999, witnessed a split recently with Ajit Pawar joining the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra. This is the second time Ajit Pawar has joined as deputy chief minister, after he did so in 2019 for a few hours.