The bond between Opposition parties and former allies, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (Cong-NCP), seemed short lived on Thursday after NCP legislators preferred to sit in the Maharashtra assembly even as Congress staged a boycott.
The reason for the break up: Congress local unit joining hands with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to win power in the Gondia zilla parishad instead of NCP. Irked by this backhanded trick, NCP’s group leader in the state Assembly Ajit Pawar charted a course separate from Congress choosing to participate in the proceedings of the House.
So even as Congress legislators disrupted proceedings of the House during the question hour demanding a clarification from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on loan waiver, NCP legislators participated in the question hour.
Stung by this, Congress said that the party was unaware of the decision taken at the local level by legislator Gopaldas Agrawal and action will be taken against him following a probe.
State president Ashok Chavan, who held talks with NCP’s senior leaders, said, “We have spoken to NCP leaders and will continue with the talks. We are clear that we want a combined Opposition and have agreed on several issues.”
He added that a party inquiry was underway. Agrawal and NCP senior leader Praful Patel, also from Gondia, have a long history of rivalry. Congress local unit maintained that the alliance was anti-Patel. Sources in the NCP said Patel was furious with the Congress move as there was an understanding between the former allies to have a post-poll alliance.
In neighbouring Bhandara zilla parishad, Cong-NCP have formed the government.
In the legislative council, meanwhile, Congress and NCP continued with their united opposition. Both the parties disrupted the proceedings of the council leading to adjournment of the House thrice before they participated in the discussion on agrarian crisis.