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Irked with Thackeray, a sulking Nana Patole skips MVA meet

Jun 16, 2024 08:12 AM IST

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole is seemingly upset with the opposition alliance’s top leadership, especially Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai: Despite winning 30 out of the 48 seats in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha elections, it appears all is not well within the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Congress leader Nana Patole (Hindustan Times)

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole is seemingly upset with the opposition alliance’s top leadership, especially Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray. On Saturday, the 61-year-old skipped a meeting of MVA leaders in Mumbai, which was followed by a media interaction, saying he had prior commitments.

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“The meeting was fixed all of a sudden,” Patole said. “I conveyed to them that due to scheduled commitments, I am unable to attend. On our behalf, we asked [senior Congress leaders] Prithviraj Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat to attend it.”

A senior Congress leader, requesting anonymity, said that the MVA meeting and press conference was planned after the Lok Sabha results were declared, but a date was not fixed. “It got fixed only [on Friday] when Thorat met Pawar at his Mumbai residence. When contacted, Patole said he has programmes in his own constituency, which cannot be cancelled at the 11th hour.”

Patole was in Sakoli on Saturday, which is his assembly constituency. During an interaction with the media, he said the Congress “has started preparations for the state assembly polls for all 288 seats”. The statement was made hours before a joint media interaction held by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar, Thackeray, Chavan and Thorat, among others, where they announced that the MVA allies will contest the assembly elections together.

Clear rift

It all started on June 11, when Patole said he could not contact Thackeray to discuss strategies for the ongoing legislative council elections for four seats. Soon after that, Thackeray rang up senior Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan instead of Patole.

When asked about Patole’s absence from the three-party meeting, Thackeray tried to brush the matter under the carpet. “That issue has been resolved. We are supporting Congress for Konkan Graduates constituency, and Congress and NCP are supporting us on the other three seats.” However, the rift between Patole and Thackeray is clear after the episode.

Congress insiders said that Thackeray is not entertaining Patole, which has perturbed him as he is heading the Congress in the state. Patole’s remarks that Congress, which won 13 Lok Sabha seats, is the “big brother” in the MVA also did not go down well with Thackeray.

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