MUMBAI: Amid Congress' worsening ties with the Shiv Sena, the party's Maharashtra unit chief Nana Patole was asked by the central leadership on Friday to refrain from making controversial statements that could land the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in trouble, especially at a time when there's a strong buzz of the Sena turning soft towards the BJP.
Patole, who was on a tour of north Maharashtra to expand the party base, was abruptly summoned to the national capital on Friday. Some of his recent statements have not gone down well with the MVA allies and sparking concerns even within the party.
He had announced that the Congress would be going solo in future elections, prompting Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to lash out at the party. "The party leadership has asked Patole to expand the party base without hurting the incumbent government. The Congress wants the MVA to last its full five-year term. It does not want to lose a resourceful state like Maharashtra at this juncture when the party is struggling to float. It is in power in Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, but these states cannot be compared with Maharashtra," said a highly placed source.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders in the state are also unhappy with Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil for interfering in district-level appointments for party posts. "If he wants to do anything, he should convey a message through the state president or another senior state functionary. Patil recently sent a voice mail to all district units asking them to submit three names each for district president. It’s not his call to appoint Congress district presidents; it is the right of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. Patil is overstepping his brief," said a source.
Several complaint letters have gone to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking Patil's replacement, the source added.