INDIA bloc betting big on Maharashtra, Kharge and Pawar predict 46-seat tally

Kharge also asserted that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would join the INDIA alliance.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with NCP (Sharad) Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during an INDIA alliance press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with NCP (Sharad) Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during an INDIA alliance press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Photo | PTI)

MUMBAI: A confident Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge declared on Saturday that the INDIA alliance is poised to secure 46 out of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

Thirteen seats in the state, including six in Mumbai, are scheduled for polling In the upcoming fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 20.

Kharge was addressing a press conference alongside his Maha Vikas Aghadi partners, former Union Minister and NCP (SP) leader Sharad Pawar and former Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray.

"Looking at the current hawa (wind), we will win 46 of the total 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra," said Kharge.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with NCP (Sharad) Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during an INDIA alliance press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
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Sharad Pawar, who had previously estimated that the Maha Vikas Aghadi would secure 30 to 35 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, endorsed Kharge's revised projection of 46 seats, citing the improved political landscape in the state.

Kharge also asserted that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would join the INDIA alliance. He noted Banerjee's transition from offering external support to expressing intent to actively participate in the government.

Regarding policy proposals, Kharge pledged to fill 30 lakh government vacancies, provide social security for gig workers, and offer vocational training for urban youth akin to the MNREGA program for rural labourers. "We will train the urban youth and give them work like we did through MNREGA for rural workers. We will give Rs l lakh as stipend for these workers besides Rs 25 lakh insurance. We will also remove the GST on the agriculture equipment like tractors, and fertilizers," Kharge reiterated.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with NCP (Sharad) Chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray during an INDIA alliance press conference, in Mumbai, Saturday, May 18, 2024.
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Kharge also took aim at Prime Minister Modi's recent remarks, urging him to be consistent and clear in his messaging. He highlighted the PM's contradictory statements linking the Congress manifesto to disparate groups. "I urge Modi to adhere to a coherent agenda and ensure clarity in his communications," the Congress President said.

Ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, meanwhile, predicted the imminent downfall of the ruling NDA coalition post-June 4, heralding the advent of "real acche din" or good days. He pledged to restore Mumbai's glory, which he claimed had been tarnished by the BJP-led government's relocation of projects and institutions.

Responding to allegations of being a "duplicate Shiv Sena," Thackeray retorted that instead BJP will soon be labeled a "duplicate RSS".

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