The upcoming Lok Sabha polls are widely expected to witness a grand coalition trying to unite anti-BJP votes across the nation. However, the much-hyped anti-BJP alliances have been facing trouble across several states. It seems that yet another anti-BJP alliance is in the middle of a crisis.
As per latest reports, the Congress-NCP coalition in the state of Maharashtra is in the middle of a crisis. The alliance is facing trouble over the question of inclusion of Raj Thackrey led MNS in the NCP-Congress alliance in the state of Maharashtra. The MNS was initially expected to be a part of this alliance which includes Sharad Pawar led NCP and the INC. However, Congress has now taken a stand against including the MNS within the alliance.
Maharashtra Congress president, Ashok Chavan has said that the party has made it clear to the NCP that the Congress cannot come to an understanding “covertly or overtly”, with the Raj Thackrey-led party to include it within the grand coalition fold in the state of Maharashtra in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. Chavan said, “The Congress has clearly conveyed to the NCP its decision against the inclusion of MNS in the grand alliance… Any attempt by NCP leaders to come to an understanding with MNS overtly or covertly will not be tolerated by the Congress.”
Earlier, NCP leader Ajit Pawar had held a meeting with Raj Thackrey. The Sharad Pawar led party had also suggested that the party would like to offer the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat to the MNS. However, Congress fears that the north Indian voters might feel upset if it forms an alliance with the MNS. There is a substantial number of north India voters in Maharashtra who might feel upset if the MNS becomes a part of the NCP-Congress alliance. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said, “We have told the NCP that we have ideological differences with the MNS. Coalition happens with parties have similar ideologies. Therefore, the alliance was not possible.” Congress leaders fear that the party might lose out not only in Maharashtra but also in the entire Hindi heartland if the grand old party enters into a coalition with the MNS.
The NCP is, however, keen on including the Raj Thackrey led party within the alliance. It feels that Thackrey will prove to be a powerful orator against the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The Sharad Pawar led party also believes that an alliance with the MNS will help it in consolidating its base in Thane and Mumbai. Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Every party draws its own strategy in elections. So, NCP is also trying to reach out to all parties, including MNS, to consolidate the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ against BJP and Shiv Sena. However, just because two leaders held discussions does not mean that there is an alliance. The Congress and NCP will decide and reach consensus.”
The differences between the NCP and the Congress do not come as much of a surprise. In fact, the grand alliance is bound to face such turbulence. Where parties differ in ideology and come together only for the purpose of electoral and political benefits, then such an alliance is bound to face constant trouble.