Cong, Sena (UBT) and NCP (SP) to jointly contest Maharashtra polls: Pawar

Veteran leader says it is "moral responsibility" of opposition coalition to bring about change in the state

NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar
NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar


NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar said his party, the Congress, and the Shiv Sena (UBT) led by Uddhav Thackeray will jointly contest the Maharashtra Assembly polls, due in October.

Addressing a news conference in Mumbai, Pawar also said it is the moral responsibility of the major opposition parties in Maharashtra to protect the state Assembly polls and the interests of smaller allies, which were part of the coalition in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The NCP (SP), Congress and the Shiv Sena (UBT) are constituents of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), which was in power in the state from November 2019 till June 2022 before the collapse of the Thackeray-led government.

Pawar said the opposition will keep a collective face before the people of Maharashtra. There is need for a change in the state and it is the moral responsibility of the opposition coalition to discharge it, Pawar said.

"As Arjuna's target (in the epic Mahabharata) was an eye (of a fish), our eyes are all set on the elections in Maharashtra. The Congress, NCP (SP) and Uddhav Thackeray's Sena (UBT) will jointly contest the Vidhan Sabha polls," he said.

The former Maharashtra chief minister said talks on seat-sharing in the state have not begun, but will commence soon.

The people gave a good response to the NCP (SP), Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he noted.

"But like these three parties, the Left parties, Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) were also a part of the coalition but we could not give them seats in the Lok Sabha. It is our moral responsibility to protect the interests of these parties," he said. "So the efforts will be to go ahead with them (in the state assembly polls)."

Asked about the state budget presented on Friday by the Eknath Shinde government, the NCP (SP) chief said, "What happens if you go with an empty pocket in a market? It's a matter of a few days, reality will be seen soon."

A monthly allowance of Rs 1,500 to women in the 21 to 60 age group, three free LPG cylinders a year for households, farmer-friendly steps and a stipend of Rs 10,000 per month to youths for skill training were highlights of the Maharashtra government's budget for 2024-25 presented on Friday, four months ahead of the state polls.

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