NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: With the rift within the ruling alliance in Maharashtra widening amid the Covid-19 crisis, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday stirred a controversy saying the party is supporting the government in the state but is not a key decision-maker.
“We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision-maker...We are the key decision-maker in Punjab; we are the key decision-maker in Chhattisgarh, in Rajasthan, in Puducherry. So, there is a difference between running a government and supporting a Government,” Gandhi said. He was responding to question on the BJP’s demand for President’s Rule in the state in the wake of the MVA government’s alleged failure to contain the pandemic, especially in Mumbai.
Gandhi’s remarks invited criticism from the BJP, which pointed out that the Congress holds 10 portfolios in the coalition and accused the party of having “power without accountability”.
The state unit of Congress went into damage control mode, saying the decisions are taken jointly by all three parties after discussions. However, disgruntled Maharashtra Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam attacked the Uddhav Thackeray-led government for not being able to handle the situation and asked the party to withdraw from the ruling alliance.
Gandhi’s remarks come at a time when speculations are rife about trouble brewing between the Shiv Sena and the NCP. In fact, the rumours gathered steam after NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Governor after a meeting with Thackeray.
However, both Pawar and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed there was no threat to the government. Sources in the NCP said the party was not happy with the way Thackeray was running the government. “There is unrest among the ministers and leaders that they are not the part of decisions making,” said an NCP leader.