Warning that midterm assembly elections in Maharashtra were “inevitable”, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Saturday said there was no question of his party propping up the Bharatiya Janata Part-Shiv Sena alliance in the state.
Pawar told the media that he was even ready to put down his decision in writing and submit a copy to the state Governor.
“I can right now give a letter to this effect and forward to the Governor. But even Shiv Sena should submit a similar letter to the Governor and make it public,” Pawar said, putting the ball in the Sena court over the fate of the government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Shiv Sena in the past few weeks has bitterly criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state and the Centre, saying the Maharashtra government was “on a notice period”, indicating it may withdraw support after the outcome of the civic elections on February 23.
Soon after the 2014 October assembly elections, the NCP had extended outside support to the BJP’s minority government as Shiv Sena sat in the opposition for a month.
Around a month later, the Sena left the opposition benches to join the BJP as an ally.
The NCP chief had then justified its decision to provide external support to the BJP “in the interest of political stability and to avoid a fresh round of elections”.
In the last assembly elections, Maharashtra threw up a fractured house as all the main parties had contested separately and against each other.
Attacking the Centre for demonetisation, Pawar said the November 8 move had resulted in massive losses in the farming sector and rural areas, besides job losses in the economy.
Questioning Fadnavis’ claims on the “transparency agenda”, Pawar demanded to know how the BJP could spend so much money on advertisements and publicity for the ongoing civic elections in Maharashtra.
Referring to a demand by the BJP to ban the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana Group of Publications for some days during the election period, Pawar said this indicated “dictatorial” attitude on the central government’s part and expressed his opposition to it.