Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday asserted that there “is no threat” to the government in Maharashtra and said that he is committed to the alliance with the Congress and the Shiv Sena, reported NDTV. Pawar noted that a series of meetings with his party’s alliance partners did “not indicate any reconsideration on his part”.
The ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress coalition, collectively known as the Maha Vikas Aghadi, was formed after former allies Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena could not reach a power-sharing agreement following the elections in October last year.
Speculation about a rift in the coalition began after Pawar met Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari on Monday morning and then held a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at his Mumbai residence in the evening, PTI reported.
“...there is no threat to the Maharashtra government,” Pawar said. “All MLAs are with us, any attempt to break them at this time will result in the public beating us.”
Pawar told NDTV that his meeting with the governor was a “courtesy call” and that they “did not discuss politics or Covid”. He described his meeting with Thackeray as “routine”.
Meanwhile, the Opposition has been constantly attacking the state government over its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in the country with 52,667 cases and 1,695 deaths. Of this, Mumbai alone has reported 31,789 cases and 1,026 deaths.
On Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narayan Rane met the governor and demanded President’s rule in the state as the Thackeray-led government had allegedly failed to tackle the Covid-19 crisis, ANI reported. Last week, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government had failed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The former chief minister had added that the state lacked a “decisive government” and was in need of protocols to restart the economy.
Pawar reacted to Fadnavis’ claims and said that the former chief minister was “getting impatient”.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday refuted rumours of a rift, adding that Pawar and Thackeray’s meeting ran for one-and-a-half hours on the previous evening. “Those doubting about the stability of this government are doing so out of their own grudge,” Raut tweeted. “This government is strong.”
He further said that if prominent leaders such as Pawar and Thackeray held talks when the state and country are going through difficult times, it should not trouble anyone. “I’ve not heard any talk of it [President’s rule] from Amit Shahji or [Nitin] Gadkariji, so how do I believe anything?” Raut asked.