MVA allies in fresh war of words over PM’s post; BJP gleeful

Sangli (Maharashtra), April 20 (IANS): A day after the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP, Sanjay Raut, set loose a rat – with broad hints suggesting ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as a possible claimant for the Prime Minister’s post, here on Saturday.

Speaking to the media in Sangli during an election tour, Sanjay Raut said that “if Maharashtra gets an opportunity to lead the nation after the current Lok Sabha elections, then it should be welcomed by all.”

While avoiding a direct reference, the Sena MP said that the question was not whether Thackeray was in the reckoning for the post of PM, but “why can’t he be a contender for the top job.”

“He is a former CM of a major state like Maharashtra and performed exceedingly well during the Covid-19 pandemic… He enjoy mass goodwill and can take everybody along with him… So what’s wrong if his name comes up. But all these things are first discussed with the INDIA bloc before anything is finalised,” pointed out Raut, albeit with a cautious rider.

Expectedly, the statement evoked a sharp retort from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally, Congress state President Nana F Patole, who hit out at Raut for “changing his stance” daily, though the NCP(SP) has not yet reacted to the comment.

“Till yesterday, Raut was seeming okay with Rahul Gandhi’s name as PM, but today he has suddenly changed his opinion… This does not augur well…” said a peeved Patole.

The tussle among the MVA allies was apparently music for BJP state President Ashish Shelar who attacked the Opposition alliance saying “they have no strong candidate for the PM’s post, all the parties in INDIA bloc want to project their candidates and are trying to pull each other down.”

“Only PM Narendra Modi is capable of leading the country and has a strong developmental goal for the nation’s progress… The Opposition parties and their leaders are busy fighting among themselves, lacking a clear agenda and spoiling each other’s chances,” slammed Shelar.

Justifying his contentions, Raut said in the past, senior leader and NCP(SP) President Sharad Pawar was also a strong contender for the PM’s job, but owing to certain political circumstances he could not achieve it, “and we all regret it even now.”

However, attempting to nip any speculation in the bud, Raut announced that both Gandhi and Thackeray shall be seen sharing the dais at MVA-INDIA bloc rallies scheduled during the forthcoming four phases of LS elections in the state.

“In the 2024 elections, the INDIA bloc will get between 300-310 LS seats, the BJP-NDA will be stuck between 180-200, at the highest at 230… Nothing can stop the INDIA bloc now,” asserted a grim Raut.


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Title: MVA allies in fresh war of words over PM’s post; BJP gleeful

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