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Congress plays safe on Vidarbha issue

State president Manikrao Thakre says the Congress has appointed a committee of top leaders on the issue, and their decision will be the party’s official stand on it

While some top BJP leaders have declared their views favouring a separate state for Vidarbha, the Congress is being cautious and prefers not to say much about the issue.

Manikrao Thakre
Playing it safe: MPCC president Manikrao Thakre said that the decision of the committee on the issue of a separate state for Vidarbha will be the party’s official stand. Pic/ Shashank Sane

Congress state president Manikrao Thakre, in a news conference on Wednesday, said, “The Congress has already appointed a committee of top leaders on the issue of a separate Vidarbha. The decision of this committee will be the official stand of the party on this topic.”

Targeting the BJP for declaring its support for separating Vidarbha from Maharashtra, he said, “In the past too, for vote bank politics, BJP had made this part of their election campaign agenda. In 1994, they had even aggressively campaigned on it. But once the elections get over they forget their stand.”

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was in the city on Tuesday had said that the BJP favoured smaller states and hence the party will support the demand of a separate Vidarbha.

Disciplining leaders
In the ongoing election campaign, the Congress is facing challenges from its own leaders in many places, who have not received candidature. Targeting such leaders, Thakre said, “The party has already warned all members who are not supporting our candidates. We have given them an ultimatum of October 11. If they still continue to misbehave, the party will take strict action against them.”

Interestingly, senior leader Patangrao Kadam’s son and Lok Sabha candidate from the city, Vishwajeet Kadam, who lost the Lok Sabha polls with a huge 3-lakh margin, is nowhere to be seen in the ongoing campaign.

Silent about NCP
While the NCP is openly targeting the Congress, especially former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in rallies, the Congress seems to be slow about retaliating.

When asked about allegations levelled by NCP leader, Ajit Pawar against Chavan, he said, “If Pawar is making statements about inquiries of files approved by Chavan, then what can we say about that? The NCP should understand that all the policy decisions in the state were made under the leadership of CM Chavan. The entire state knows what kind of development works Pawar had done.”

Against the backdrop of PM Narendra Modi’s rally in Pawar’s constituency in Baramati on Thursday afternoon, when asked why the Congress is not aggressively campaigning on Pawar’s home turf, he replied, “The Congress has fielded its candidate against Pawar and I am sure about Pawar’s defeat in the upcoming election.”

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