Cong-NCP alliance headed for divorce?

Apr 21, 2012, 07:05 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh

Differences come to fore after Congress aligning with Shiv Sena for Thane civic polls

The marriage of convenience between the two ruling parties in Maharashtra — also members of the central government — seems to have hit a snag, after the Congress cosying up to the Shiv Sena for the Thane Municipal Corporation polls. The decision by Congress seems an attempt to get back at NCP – its ally in the state since 1999 – for backing Raj Thackeray-led MNS to win the chairman’s post of standing committee in BMC. 

Frenemies? Congress’ Manikrao Thakre and NCP’s Madhukar Pichad, seen here in a conversation, have made it clear to the other party that neither is ready to back down. File pic

MNS, on the other hand, had supported Shiv Sena to win the mayor’s post, but was upset over Sena’s refusal to reciprocate by backing its mayoral candidate in Nashik. Raj Thackeray’s party finally managed to install its party nominee at the post with the help of BJP. At Nashik, Sena took revenge by aligning with Congress to defeat the MNS candidate during elections to the standing committee.

Who’s with who?
On Friday, Shiv Sena offered the post of leader of opposition to Congress corporator Manoj Shinde. The decision led to scuffle among NCP and Sena corporators during the general body meeting. The political developments at Thane were hectic with Congress ditching NCP to take revenge of its non-cooperation during elections to zilla parishads. To keep Congress out of power, NCP aligned with BJP and Shiv Sena at many places.

Congress state unit chief Manikrao Thakre was particularly upset with NCP’s decision to align with Sena and BJP in Yavatmal district, his home turf, to win the zilla parishad president’s post. The NCP move ensured Thakre’s son Rahul remained out of power. Reacting over the developments in Thane, NCP state unit chief Madhukar Pichad said, “Congress can take a decision to remain in power at the state level and my party is ready to sit in the opposition.” On the other hand, Congress state unit chief Manikrao Thakre said, “NCP should not take us for granted. The decision in Thane was taken by local leaders.”  

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