In letter to Uddhav Thackeray, Sonia Gandhi says Maharashtra expects responsible government
Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the newly sworn in Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray congratulating him on his appointment, stating that the “people of Maharashtra expect the [Shiv Sena-Congress-Nationalist Congress Party] alliance to provide cohesive, purposeful, responsible, responsive, and transparent administration”.
The alliance, the letter said, has “come together under quite extraordinary circumstances at a time when the country faces unprecedented threats from the BJP. The political atmosphere has become poisonous and the economy has collapsed.” Gandhi added that she was confident that all three parties will strive to implement the common programme “in letter and in spirit”.
Earlier on Thursday, Gandhi hit out at the ruling BJP for making “shameless attempts to subvert democracy” in Maharashtra as well as over the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), surveillance, electoral bonds and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir .
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party in Parliament’s Central Hall, Gandhi accused the BJP of trying to “blatantly sabotage” the three-party alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from coming to power in Maharashtra. She accused Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari of acting in an “unprecedented and reprehensible” manner.
“There is no doubt that the governor acted under the instructions of the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and the home minister [Amit Shah],” Gandhi said.
On November 23, Koshyari invited Devendra Fadnavis to form the government, hours after NCP chief Sharad Pawar announced that Thackeray would be the next CM.
Gandhi said that the BJP’s pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena fell through because of the party’s “arrogance” and “over-confidence”. “Every effort was made to blatantly sabotage the three-party alliance government formation, but we appealed to the Supreme Court and the Modi-Shah government was totally exposed.”
The BJP-led government in Maharashtra collapsed on November 26, after Fadnavis resigned following the Supreme Court’s order to conduct a floor test on November 27. This paved the way for the Maharashtra Vikas to stake claim to power.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and parliamentarian from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi also wrote letters to congratulate Thackeray on his appointment as CM, and head of the coalition government. Shiv Sena youth wing chief Aaditya Thackeray had met Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday to invite her for the swearing-in ceremony.
“I am glad that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi has come together to defeat the BJP’s attempt to undermine our democracy,” Rahul Gandhi wrote in his letter, adding that he regretted that he would not be able to attend the ceremony.
Hitting out the Congress, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao tweeted, “(...) Udhav Thackeray, Editor-In-Chief of Saamana, wrote that Godse was a Patriot. Is that why you are ashamed to attend swearing-in?”
Rahul Gandhi had earlier attacked the BJP over its MP Pragya Thakur’s praise for Godse, saying her remarks represented the “heart and soul” of the saffron party.
Taking a dig at Thackeray, Rao offered his congratulations to the “Godse Bhakt” and said the Sena supremo and his party MLAs had pledged their loyalty with the “Sultanate”.
Addressing party workers on Thursday, Gandhi said that in the Northeast, many fear that the proposed CAB, which sought to provide non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan Indian citizenship, would encourage more migrations from Bangladesh.
She said there is now a clamour in the ruling BJP in Assam for a fresh NRC process to be initiated, as the earlier Supreme Court monitored exercise did not fulfil the “expectations and propaganda” of the BJP.