MUMBAI: The split within the Maharashtra opposition parties, formed in the wake of reports of cross-voting during the presidential polls, appears to have deepened on the eve of the three-week-long monsoon session of the assembly.
This time it was an argument over whose name — whether former PM Indira Gandhi’s or that of NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s — should come first in a congratulatory motion to be tabled before the assembly on Monday.
Breaking precedent, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the two leading parties in the opposition camp, who had locked horns over the issue, addressed the media separately. While Congress wanted Indira Gandhi’s name to come first in the congratulatory motion, as she was a PM, the NCP leaders argued that Sharad Pawar is the only prominent politician alive, and hence, his name should come first.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior NCP leader said only the names of Sharad Pawar and senior veteran Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP-I) legislator Ganpatrao Deshmukh were to be included in the motion of congratulation. Both of them have completed 50 years in active politics.
However, the Congress leaders dashed off letters to the assembly speaker and council chairman demanding that the name of late Indira Gandhi be included, and by way of protocol, should come up first.
Speaking to media representatives, NCP state president Sunil Tatkare asked if the Congress was really interested in working with the NCP in the interest of a unified opposition. He added that it was for the Congress leaders to clarify as to why they chose to hold their own press briefing.