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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Congress leaders fume as Thackeray names 17 candidates

Updated on: 28 March,2024 07:16 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Sanjay Nirupam says his party is writing its own obituary by surrendering to the weakened alliance partner Shiv Sena (UBT)

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Congress leaders fume as Thackeray names 17 candidates

Sanjay Nirupam, Congress aspirant from North West. File pic/Sameer Markande

Key Highlights

  1. Uddhav Thackeray’s announcement of Shiv Sena (UBT)’s candidates has upset the Congress
  2. Senior leaders of the national party called the act a breach of alliance dharma
  3. The leaders exchanged charges and counter-charges

Uddhav Thackeray’s announcement of Shiv Sena (UBT)’s candidates who are contesting 17 Lok Sabha seats, including some disputed ones, has upset the Congress. Senior leaders of the national party called the act a breach of alliance dharma, and asked that the list be amended before it is too late. The leaders exchanged charges and counter-charges, exposing an intense conflict in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). 

The constituencies Thackeray has claimed indicated his party's upper hand in the deal that the Congress leaders felt was made public without considering the ongoing talks between the allies. For example, in Mumbai, the Thackeray Sena named candidates for four constituencies, one of which the Congress had demanded desperately. Of the remaining two, the Sena is expected to get one more, leaving Congress just one among six.

Sanjay Raut, spokesperson, Shiv Sena (UBT) Sanjay Raut, spokesperson, Shiv Sena (UBT) 

Thackeray has fielded all five sitting MPs who had remained with him after Eknath Shinde split the united Sena.

Nirupam threatens to quit

Congress aspirant from Mumbai North West, Sanjay Nirupam, gave the Congress leadership a time window of seven days to reclaim the seat from the Sena. He said he had been working in the constituency following his loss to Gajanan Kirtikar (of undivided Sena) in 2019, and hence expected the party to get him this segment. “Our ally has given a candidate [Amol Kirtikar] who was charged by the ED in the khichdi scam. Neither I nor my supporters will not work for this khichdi chor,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.

Nirupam said his party had surrendered to the Sena (UBT) that had eroded its base, especially in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. “A decade ago, the Congress had five MPs and the NCP one from Mumbai. The Congress still has a voter base that can win as many seats in Mumbai. Yet this has happened. It’s something like writing the obituary of the party,” said Nirupam.

In Mumbai, the Congress wanted at least three segments including South Central. But is seems it would end up getting just one—the North Central constituency. In Mumbai North, the Sena has asked its former MLA Vinod Ghosalkar to be prepared. If not him, then his daughter-in-law is expected to contest.

The announcement completed one line-up in Mumbai. Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Dina Patil has been pitted against BJP’s Mihir Kotecha, who was preferred over sitting MP Manoj Kotak [Mumbai North East].

Vijay Wadettiwar,  leader of OppositionVijay Wadettiwar, leader of Opposition

‘Sena violated alliance dharma’

Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said the Sena had violated ‘alliance dharma’ by naming its candidates for the places that were disputed. “Definitely, we are upset. They announced their Sangli candidate even as it was still being discussed. They should have thought about following the alliance dharma. We demand that they reconsider the list and correct it," he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar said principles of alliance were not followed by the Sena. “It is not right to declare names when the talks are on. They have marred the alliance,” he said.

We did not complain, says Raut

Sena (UBT) spokesperson Sanjay Raut wondered why there was so much outcry from the allies. He said his party leaders did not say the Sena had surrendered to the Congress when the latter was given all seats in eastern Vidarbha. “We gave them Ramtek where we had won last time and even before that,” he said.

Shiv Sena (UBT)’s list of names

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