New Delhi / Can we contest future elections with Shiv Sena as ally, asks Congress' Sanjay Nirupam

Hindustan Times : Nov 11, 2019, 01:44 PM

Sanjay Nirupam, one of the most vocal Congress leaders in Maharashtra against any kind of arrangement with the Shiv Sena, on Monday responded to Sena minister Arvind Sawant’s exit from the Union Cabinet with a warning to his party.

Sawant’s resignation from the Narendra Modi government was yesterday stated by Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party as the first condition to consider extending support to a Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra.

Nirupam said he expected political instability in the state irrespective of who formed the government and prophesied that snap elections could be held some time next year and asked his party if the Congress could really face an election with rival Sena as an alliance partner.

The Bal Thackeray-founded Sena was Sanjay Nirupam’s entry point in politics, first as an editor at the party’s mouthpiece before getting a major upgrade as the Sena’s Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha and later, its deputy leader in the house. He resigned from the Sena in 2005 and headed into the Congress.

The 54-year-old ex-Mumbai Congress chief has been one of the first party leaders to openly speak against any kind of an arrangement with his former party, the Sena. In recent days, he has called any attempt to support the Sena a “disastrous” move and cautioned his party that it must not think of sharing power with Shiv Sena “under any circumstances”.

That line, which does resonate with a section of Congress leaders in Delhi. On Monday, he upgraded the warning with his prediction of political instability in the state irrespective of the political formation that comes up.

“No matter who forms govt and how ? But the political instability in Maharashtra can not be ruled out now. Get ready for early elections. It may take place in 2020,” he tweeted his prophecy on Monday ahead of the meeting of the party’s highest policy making body, the Congress Working Committee to decide its stand on Maharashtra.

He also asked if the Congress can go to people to seek votes with Shiv Sena as partner.

BJP is the single-largest party in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly with 105 MLAs and had the support of 15 independent legislators. But it needed another 25 seats to reach the majority mark and had to decline an offer from the Governor to stake claim. BJP’s pre-poll ally Shiv Sena, which won 56 seats in the state polls, which was given the next invite to take a shot at forming government, is trying to get the support of the NCP which had 54 seats and the Congress, which has 44 seats.

“In the current political arithmetic in Maharashtra, it’s just impossible for Congress-NCP to form any govt. For that we need Shiv Sena. And we must not think of sharing power with Shiv Sena under any circumstances,” Nirupam tweeted.