Congress would contest elections to Mumbai civic bodies independently, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole on Tuesday said. Following a meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the presence of AICC general secretaries KC Venugopal and H K Patil in New Delhi, Patole’s statement appeared to be a slight climb down from his earlier stand.
Patole had been claiming that the Congress party would contest both civic elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha and assembly elections independently. However, on Tuesday, he stated that the party will certainly contest the civic polls independently. “The Lok Sabha and assembly elections are far away, we will contest all the ensuing civic polls independently,” Patole said.
Upset over Patole’s style of working and remarks, party leader Rahul Gandhi summoned him to the national capital on Tuesday. The reprimand came after Patole’s recent remarks related to leaders from the other two ruling parties led to strong reactions from Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Reportedly, Patole has been asked to refrain from any controversial remarks that would affect the interest of the ruling alliance- Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) of Sena, NCP and Congress. The state unit chief has also been told to refrain from commenting on the alliance between the ruling parties for the forthcoming polls.
Days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he had been against the Congress and NCP— politically, Patole stirred up a hornet’s nest by calling NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar the ‘remote control of the government.
“There is no doubt that Sharad Pawar is remote control (of Maharashtra government). We (Congress) do not make statements against any big leader, but any outsider should look into own party before making statements,” Patole said.
Responding to Patole’s comments, Senior Pawar said he will not react to what “small people” say but will speak if Sonia Gandhi says something.
Patole has been making headlines ever since he took over as the state unit chief of the party in February with his unguarded and controversial statements. His announcement of going solo in the local body and Assembly elections made immediately after taking over did not go well with the Sena and NCP.
Currently, the Congress shares power with the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra. In 2017 Mumbai civic body polls, Congress registered its worst-ever electoral performance in the city, managing to win just 31 seats out of the total 227. In the same elections, BJP made giant strides in the Shiv Sena citadel of Mumbai, winning 82 seats, just two seats behind the estranged saffron ally.