While the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan is in the throes of a crisis, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar asserted that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime in Maharashtra was safe.
In the third and final part of his interview to the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which was carried on Monday, Pawar rubbished the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) repeated claims that the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government in the state would collapse soon. “I am sure that, for five years, the government will conduct the affairs of the state in an excellent manner and Operation Kamal or whatever will not have any impact on Uddhav Thackeray’s government,” he added.
Pawar declared that the three parties, which made up the MVA—the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress—could contest the next elections together if they planned their strategy well.
“Operation Kamal means the brazen misuse of authority to weaken, destabilise governments with a popular mandate, and misuse the powers of the central government to the hilt for this,” said Pawar, who was speaking to Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha Member of the Parliament (MP) and Saamna executive editor Sanjay Raut.
Pawar claimed that his statement after the 2014 assembly elections, wherein he said that the NCP was willing to support the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra, was made deliberately to create a distance between the Shiv Sena and the BJP.
The statement came when it became obvious that the BJP was the single largest party in the assembly, yet short of the halfway mark. NCP’s stance had significantly affected the Shiv Sena’s bargaining prowess, when it went to the negotiation table with the BJP.
However, in the interview, Pawar claimed that he had made the statement on purpose to bring about a rift between the BJP and Shiv Sena. “…it is not in the interests of the Shiv Sena to let the BJP hold the reigns of the government,” said Pawar, adding that this was because the BJP would wield authority in Delhi and the state. The BJP did not believe in the right of other parties to exist in a democracy, and would betray them, he charged.