Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole has created a flutter in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the ruling alliance led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray by pitching himself as a chief ministerial aspirant.

Speaking at a public function in Maharashtra’s Akola, Nana Patole said the Congress would contest the next assembly polls alone while presenting himself as a chief ministerial candidate.

Nana Patole said, “We will be going solo in all the forthcoming local body elections as well as the assembly polls. Won’t you like to see Nana Patole as the chief minister?”

Responding to Nana Patole’s statement, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar took a swipe at the state Congress chief saying harbouring a dream was “not a crime”.

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Ajit Pawar, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, said, “It’s not a crime to dream. Everyone in the coalition has a right to grow their respective party. Final decision regarding alliance or going solo will be taken by either Sonia Gandhi or Sharad Pawar or Uddhav Thackeray.”

Nana Patole’s remark came close on the heels of Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently which set off speculation about a fresh churning in the Maharashtra politics. The meeting was held in the backdrop of a Supreme Court ruling that declared separate quota for the Maratha as unconstitutional.

Recently, Maharashtra politics has seen several unconfirmed claims including the change of chief minister as the Uddhav Thackeray government completes half its tenure. The Shvi Sena has, however, dismissed the speculation.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, in his weekly column in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, wrote, “It’s a rumour that Shiv Sena CM will be replaced after 2.5 years. When three parties came together to form the government, they had clearly decided that Uddhav Thackeray will remain as CM for all five years. If someone is talking otherwise, it is nothing but a rumour.”

The MVA coalition was formed in Maharashtra as post-poll alliance between the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress. It was floated after the Shiv Sena and the BJP fell out following their victory in the assembly election on the question of chief minister’s post in 2019. Shiv Sena joined hands with rivals Congress and the NCP after they promised chief minister’s post to Uddhav Thackeray.

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