‘Sonia wanted written assurance MVA will work as per Constitution’
Ashok Chavan, a senior Congress leader and a minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government, on Monday said that his party president, Sonia Gandhi, was against joining hands with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, and had asked the state Congress to get a written assurance from the Sena that the government will work within the constitutional framework. While he said they did not take any written assurance from the Sena other than the common minimum programme (CMP), he insisted the Congress will walk out of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government if it violates the promise.
Detailing how the alliance came about, Chavan, who is the public works department minister, said, “Our party leadership in Delhi was sceptical about the different ideologies the parties follow. The leadership raised questions about potential differences which could arise while running the three-party government. Party president Sonia Gandhi even asked us to take it in writing from the Sena that it would work within the constitutional framework.”
He said that the three parties – Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Sena – came together to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power, which even the Muslim community wanted. He said chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has assured the party that it will follow the principle of secular governance, insisting that the Congress will not support the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Chavan, while speaking at an event to launch the MVA’s ambitious ₹-10 thali for the poor in Nanded, said, “There was no formal written exchange between the two parties, but the CMP was signed by the three parties. When we were discussing the alliance in Delhi, we were told to have a CMP which could specify the party’s secular stand. The CMP, signed by all three parties, is an agreement between the three parties.”
His party colleague and Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said, “All three ruling parties are committed to follow the CMP which is according to the constitutional framework. Our government will complete its term.”
Shiv Sena leader and urban development department minister Eknath Shinde said that there was no separate written assurance between them other than the CMP. The CMP, however, has not prevented the two parties from differing with the other publicly over the past two months.