We are not decision makers in Maharashtra, says Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi said there is a difference between running the government and supporting it.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday sought to distance himself from reports suggesting a rift within the ruling coalition in Maharashtra amid the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) frequent attacks for its “poor handling” of the Covid-19 pandemic in the state which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country with over 52,000.
“I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra,” Gandhi said at a news conference held via video conference in response to a question on the coronavirus crisis in the state.
The Congress is a junior partner in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in the state. Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is the other constituent of the MVA. Pawar called on chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday night to discuss the prevailing situation in the state.
“We are decision makers in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry. There is a difference between running the government and supporting it,” Gandhi added.
The BJP has upped the ante and is demanding imposition of President’s rule in the state. A BJP delegation, led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, last week met Governor BS Koshyari and complained to him about the “failure” of the coalition government in tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
“I said very categorically that Maharashtra is an important state, Mumbai is the financial capital and there is a lot of attention, they have a difficult situation and lots of attention needs to be given to the state by the Centre,” the former Congress chief said.
While the opposition BJP used Gandhi’s remarks as a fresh handle to attack the state government, NCP leader Supriya Sule backed the Congress leader.
“He is absolutely right. It is a coalition. Everyone takes a decision together. Uddhav Thackeray takes everyone into confidence,” she said.
However, her party colleague Majeed Memon criticised the Congress.
“It is not right to say Congress is not part of the decision making process. Its members are part of the cabinet and they are not providing support from outside,” he said.