Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar
Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar
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Shiv Sena’s ruling ally Congress party in Maharashtra on Sunday asked the former not to suggest who should head the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan said Shiv Sena is not part of the UPA and tie-up between the two parties is limited to Maharashtra only. Chavan was responding to Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut’s statement that the UPA needs to expand to take on the "dictatorial" union government.

"Shiv Sena is yet to become a part of the UPA. Our alliance with the party in Maharashtra is based on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and limited to Maharashtra," Chavan said. He further snubbed Shiv Sena, saying that it was not proper on its part to comment on the leadership of the UPA.

Raut had said that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar enjoys support across parties like UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. "Pawar himself has denied the speculation that he will be the next chairperson of the UPA. UPA allies trust the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. So there is no need to discuss the issue," Chavan said.

Chavan’s comment comes days after Raut had suggested that "all opposition parties should come together against the dictatorial attitude of the central government. A weak opposition is bad for democracy."

In its mouthpiece Saamna, Shiv Sena had made a strong case to hand over the leadership of UPA to Pawar. Besides, questions have also been raised on the leadership capability of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Shiv Sena also lashed out at the Narendra Modi government, saying that it is working against democracy.

Raut targets Narendra Modi government

Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Sunday took a swipe at the Narendra Modi government, saying that Indian states will break away like the Soviet Union because Prime Minister Modi is destabilising the state governments.

Raut, in Saamna, alleged that since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the money to bring down opposition-ruled states, it is sidelining them. "All opposition parties should come together against the dictatorial attitude of the central government. A weak opposition is bad for democracy," he said.

Further, Raut said non-BJP governments in various states are facing a lot of challenges like non-cooperation from the central government in carrying out developmental work.

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