Sena absent in Sonia meet, but 'all's well' in alliance
Despite the Shiv Sena reportedly skipping two meetings in a fortnight over the CAA/NRC convened by Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, leaders from all the three parties, including Nationalist Congress Party, insist that "all's well" with the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena Lok Sabha Parliamentary Party leader Vinayak Raut earlier said that it was "not aware" of the opposition parties meeting convened by Gandhi in the capital on Monday evening.
"We are not aware of such a meeting. We have not been invited for it. So, we have not taken any decision on it so far," Shiv Sena' Group Leader in Lok Sabha Vinayak Raut told IANS.
On the other hand, leaders in both Congress and NCP in Mumbai also said nothing is "amiss" if their third MVA ally, Shiv Sena, did not attend the meet.
"It was never part of the Common Minimum Programme the three parties have agreed to in November 2019. Besides, the three parties have also decided not to raise any contentious issues without mutual consultations," a Congress leader, requesting anonymity, said.
An NCP leader, preferring not to be identified, said the three allies respect and trust each other and no attempts are being made to foist decisions if they could create friction of any kind.
"Contrary to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's tall claims, our government is absolutely stable, functioning smoothly and there are no differences whatsoever," state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.
Kishore Tiwari, advisor to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, also said that "the Opposition is jittery over the efficient performance of the government for the past nearly six weeks and is resorting to false speculation to keep its own flock intact".
He said contrary to expectations, the Sena has not made any statements that directly or indirectly support the stand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP on any issue, including CAA.
"On the contrary, the CM has repeatedly assured that nobody from any community would face any problem even if the CAA/NRC is implemented. The Sena is also committed to secularism as decided in the CMP and all three parties are bound by it," Tiwari told IANS.
Leaders from Congress-NCP also said that as per their information, the Sena was not invited to the meeting today in New Delhi, so there's no question of "avoiding" it, as suggested in media circles.
Ex-minister Ashish Shelar targeted the MVA government for giving selective permission for the anti-CAA/NRC protests while refusing permission to those who want to express support to the laws.
"While anti-CAA/NRC protests are allowed, those who want to show solidarity with CAA/NRC are denied permission," Shelar said on Monday.
For nearly a month, there have been non-stop protests all over Maharashtra and there have been some rallies and marches in support of the CAA/NRC.
For the first time, NCP President Sharad Pawar will personally lead a protest against CAA/NRC in Mumbai on January 24.
Last week, top Congress-NCP leaders were present when Pawar flagged off former BJP's Union Finance Minister Yeshwant Sinha's 3000-km, 21-day-long 'Gandhi Shanti Yatra' from Mumbai to Delhi.IANS