Maharashtra: Congress high command unhappy over absence of 11 MLAs during trust vote

The list of 11 absent Congress MLAs included Ashok Chavan, Vijay Wadettiwar, Dheeraj Deshmukh, Praniti Shinde, Jitesh Antapurkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Raju Awale, Mohan Hambarde, Kunal Patil, Madhavrao Jawalgaonkar and Shirish Chaudhary

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, July 05, 2022, 12:04 AM IST
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Mumbai: The absence of 11 legislators, including former minister Ashok Chavan, during the trust vote motion in the state assembly on Monday led to a buzz about a possible split in the Congress party. The party high command took a serious note of the absence and rapped the state leadership for its failure to put in place floor management ahead of the confidence vote.

The 11 MLAs who stayed away were Chavan, Vijay Wadettiwar, Dheeraj Deshmukh, Praniti Shinde, Jitesh Antapurkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Raju Awale, Mohan Hambarde, Kunal Patil, Madhavrao Jawalgaonkar and Shirish Chaudhary.

The All India Congress Committee general secretary HK Patil, who is in charge of the Maharashtra unit, spoke to party MLAs Aslam Shaikh, Amin Patel and Sunil Kedar and took details relating to the absence. While most of them could not reach before 11 am due traffic jam owing to heavy rains, a few who had arrived could not enter the assembly as the doors were closed following the Speaker’s directives to conduct a poll.

Chavan and Wadettiwar came late and were unable to enter the House at the time of the vote. The duo later made it clear that they could not remain present purely due to traffic congestion and it was not intentional.

Patil later clarified, “I saw some reports stating that the Congress is likely to pull out of the MVA alliance in Maharashtra. It is false. The Congress has neither discussed nor decided on anything. It’s far from the truth, and only rumours. The MVA alliance is stable.”

Some of the Congress legislators admitted that efforts were made allegedly by the BJP to poach their MLAs and engineer a split. A senior MLA said, “There was a buzz that the BJP had reportedly identified nine Congress MLAs and they were asked to be ready for defection. They were also assured that the BJP will ensure their victories in the by-elections. However, the Congress party has held a series of meetings after the defeat of the party nominee in the state council election to ensure that 44 assembly legislators remain together.”

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