MVA leaders resolve to save democracy; Uddhav says unity must or country will see dictatorship post 2024 polls
Uddhav Thackeray targeted the BJP, saying it gave the option to Opposition to either join them or go to jail
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents including the faction led by him, NCP, and Congress should unite at the grassroots or else the country will see dictatorship post the 2024 polls.
He targeted the BJP, saying it gave the option to Opposition to either join them or go to jail.
Addressing a meeting of MVA leaders and office-bearers who have come from different parts of the state in Mumbai, the former chief minister said the unity of MVA was not for forming a government but to save democracy.
At the meeting, senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said MVA will contest the local bodies' elections together in an alliance.
"I appeal to all the three parties to unite and work together irrespective of whether you get a ticket to contest elections to local bodies, state Assembly or Lok Sabha. If we don't unite at the grassroots, 2024 will be the last election and we will go towards dictatorship," Thackeray said..
The MVA was formed after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections when Shiv Sena (undivided) fell out with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had emerged as the single largest party, and joined hands with ideologically incompatible Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form a coalition government, which remained in power till June 2022. .
"We have fought against each other for so long, so it is difficult to unite at the local level but we have to work towards it," Thackeray said and thanked his supporters for backing him in MVA..
"I will never let down the confidence they have in me," he said.
Referring to the ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on the events that unfolded during the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis triggered by a revolt in the then undivided Shiv Sena by MLAs loyal to Eknath Shinde, Thackeray said he was confident that the judiciary will never allow the "vastraharan" (disrobing) of democracy.
"We have to give an alternative to what we can offer to the people of the state. The MVA unity was not only for Shiv Sena or forming a government, but it is to save the democracy," he added..
Thackeray said the unity among MVA allies should percolate to the grassroots and shouldn't remain restricted only among state leaders.
"How could I have fought along with the people who had been sold," Thackeray asked, apparently referring to criticism that he did nothing to prevent revolt in Shiv Sena last year.
Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar (NCP) said the meeting of minds of the MVA rank and file was necessary so is the coordination of all three parties from the state to village level.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said the state will lead the way in defeating BJP in upcoming elections.
Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said the MVA will return to power..
MVA leaders appealed to office-bearers of all three parties to ensure that rallies proposed to be held at the divisional level are a huge success.