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Congress leadership was not keen on exploiting rift between Shiv Sena-BJP in 2014: Sharad Pawar

MUMBAI: In 2014, the BJP broke off its decades-old alliance with the Shiv Sena and contested the Assembly polls on its own. The alliance between the NCP and Congress too ended.

“Had Congress and the NCP contested the 2014 assembly elections jointly, we could have won the state. If the political differences between BJP and Shiv Sena had widened further, some possibilities would have opened up, but the central leadership of the Congress was not keen on reaping its benefit,” he said.

Pawar, who quit the Grand Old Party in 1999 to form the NCP, also claimed that after the debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress began to think that it would be helpful if the other parties which shared its ideology (like the NCP) grew weak.

Pawar also admitted that he was actively involved in ensuring that the distance between the BJP and Shiv Sena grew during this period.

For the first time, the BJP and Shiv Sena contested the assembly elections separately in 2014, and afterwards the Sena took more than a month to join the BJP-led government.

Pawar, in the meanwhile, declared his unconditional support to the BJP for government formation.

“After my statement extending support to the BJP for the sake of political stability, we were expecting the Sena to take some different stand. But it did not happen. At the same time, the BJP was trying to mend fences with the Sena,” Pawar wrote.

But a faction in the BJP did think that the party should not give much importance to the Shiv Sena and instead take steps to widen the BJP’s base, he noted.

All four parties had reached the conclusion in 2014 that they should contest the Assembly polls without entering into an alliance and assess their own strength, Pawar said.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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