Ahead of Maharashtra Assembly elections, the newly-appointed Mumbai Congress working president Eknath Gaikwad has hinted that they are ready to ally with the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
According to DNA, Gaikwad, who is a former two-term Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai, has however said that the MNS was yet to approach them with a formal proposal for an alliance. "I see no problems (in taking the MNS along). But, the party (Congress) has to formulate a policy. We are ready to take along all those who want to fight to uphold democracy and are against the Shiv Sena and the BJP in the state. Our main target is pulling down the BJP from power," Gaikwad told the leading daily.
The MNS chief had led an aggressive campaign in the state against Prime Minister Modi during the recent Lok Sabha. The MNS did not contest the Lok Sabha polls but had fielded candidates in the 2009 and 2014 assembly polls in which its tally came down drastically from 13 to one. The fortunes of Congress-NCP combine in Maharashtra have also seen a downward graph in the last few years. The grand old party could manage to grab only one of the 48 LS seats, while Sharad Pawar’s NCP managed to win only four.
So, eyeing the state assembly elections, Congress is now ready to take along all "secular forces" who were anti-BJP. Gaikwad told DNA, "There is no untouchability in politics. There was a time when the BJP was treated as such. The history is known to all. However, they (the BJP's previous avatar as the Jan Sangh) were taken along by Jayprakash Narayan (during the Emergency) and later by Sharad Pawar (when he formed the Progressive Democratic Front government in Maharashtra in 1978."