Updated: Thu, 23 Jun 2022 05:49 PM IST
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday seemed disappointed with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's remarks that the party is "ready to leave" the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance to pacify the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde. The two parties, who have stood beside the Sena amid the ongoing crisis, issued strong statements, questioning the party's leadership and wondering what would happen to the MVA government.
Expressing disappointment, the Congress said it is hoping for a 'U-turn' by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and wondered whether Raut was "articulating the Shiv Sena's official stand". "Does Sena want to join hands with the BJP in Maharashtra? The motives of Shiv Sena are not yet clear," Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
"I have not heard Uddhav Thackeray sounding like this in his Wednesday evening's public address. I would be surprised if Uddhav Thackeray does such an about-turn in less than 24 hours. I don't think that Thackeray would do that," he said.
Sharad Pawar's NCP was also disappointed with Raut's remarks and said that nobody can stop if they decide to leave the MVA alliance. The party, however, warned that it also knows "how to fight while being in the opposition".
"If some people want to go out, then they'll somehow find a reason to do that... even in governments run by a single party there can be internal tussles, here there are three different parties, there could be differences, that doesn't mean the government should be destabilised," NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"If what Sanjay Raut said is correct... if they (Shiv Sena) want to go on that path (exit MVA) then they should talk to our leader NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Nobody can stop them, every party can go on their own path," Bhujbal added.
Earlier in the day, Raut, Sena's main spokesperson, reached out to the rebel MLAs and asked them to return to Mumbai within the next 24 hours, saying the party is ready to consider leaving the MVA alliance if the lawmakers want.
"MLAs should not communicate from Guwahati, they should come back to Mumbai and discuss all this with CM. We are ready to consider exiting out of MVA if this is the will of all MLAs, but for that, they have to come here and discuss it with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray," Raut said.
The MVA alliance was formed after the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections when the Sena had parted its ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and formed a post-poll alliance with the NCP and Congress. However, the rebel MLAs, who are in Assam's Guwahati, want the party leadership to leave the alliance and join hands with the BJP again.