Mumbai, May 9 () Forty-eight hours before Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s visit to Mumbai for Opposition unity talks, a fresh war of words has erupted among the three Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena (UBT).
This time, the scenario involves NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Sena’s (UBT) Sanjay Raut and Congress’ Prithviraj Chavan with barbs and sparks being hurled at each other, almost appearing to throw the three-party alliance on the brink.
Raut’s editorial comment that Pawar had failed to prepare a heir, though he checkmated the Bharatiya Janata Party’s plans to split the NCP, rankled the Maratha strongman.
Pawar hit back hard in his characteristic soft style, dismissing Raut’s contentions and saying the latter has little idea of what is going on in the NCP over next-gen leadership, and that all his party leaders are aware of how the party will move ahead.
Pawar’s statement capped sharp reactions from Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, state NCP President Jayant Patil, veterans like Chhagan Bhujbal and others against Raut’s claims.
Bhujbal went to the extent of asking whether Raut implied that the NCP should walk out of the MVA, and made it clear that he (Raut) had no business saying such things.
Pawar also slammed Chavan’s statements during the Karnataka poll campaign in which he called NCP a Team B of the BJP in the southern state.
“First let him check his own status in the party, whether it’s A, B or C… Any colleague of his will reveal this in private,” Pawar said in Satara on Tuesday.
NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto termed Chavan as a “BJP agent” trying to create a rift among the MVA allies, and alleged that since even the Congress does not take him (Chavan) seriously, his utterances will not make any difference.
Attempting to soothe the ruffled feathers all around, state Congress President Nana Patole said that after the Karnataka Assembly election results are declared, the three partners will sit together and hammer out the seat-sharing formula for the 2024 Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly elections.
The shaky developments came on the eve of the Karnataka Assembly elections on Wednesday, and Nitish Kumar’s meetings with Thackeray and Pawar on Thursday.