Introspect on Congress leaders quitting party, says Sena editorial | Mumbai news

Mumbai In what has set off a war of words between allies in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government, the Shiv Sena has asked the Congress to introspect on why its leaders like Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel quit the party.

An editorial on Saturday in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana noted that senior leader Rahul Gandhi had left many questions unanswered at the recent chintan shivir at Udaipur.

“Congress is doomed. Where should they do damage control? Sunil Jakhar, the Congress leader from Punjab, and Hardik Patel from Gujarat, have quit the party,” said the editorial. It added that while the Congress was no stranger to desertions from its ranks, it was worrying that these had taken place at a time when the party was trying to rejuvenate itself through the chintan shivir. Saamana also called for introspection on why the two leaders had left the party.

The criticism coincided with the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and reflects the bickering within the ruling MVA. The Congress has earlier criticised the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for luring its corporators in the Malegaon and Bhiwandi civic bodies, allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Gondia zilla parishad, and has alleged ‘step-motherly’ treatment for its ministers on issues like allocation of funds.

The editorial in the newspaper, which has chief minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s wife Rashmi as the editor and Sena Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut as the executive editor, said that the ambitions of Congressmen like Jakhar, Jitin Prasada and Jyotiraditya Scindia had outgrown the Congress. This had led to them quitting it.

“They quit at a crucial time. This must also be called a failure of leadership. What will happen if the youth do not see a future in the Congress party?… the chintan shivir drew to a close while keeping the issue of leadership hanging,” it added.

The editorial further said, “Many are worried about (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi’s age and health. Of course, she continues to lead the Congress and her word matters. Rahul Gandhi left many questions unanswered at the Congress chintin shivir at Udaipur.”

Nana Patole, president, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), reacted to the editorial and said it was the Congress which helped form the MVA with the Shiv Sena and NCP to keep the BJP away from power. Without naming the Shiv Sena or Saamna, Patole questioned why attempts were made to strengthen the BJP through such criticisms.

“The youth of the country have given up hope of getting a job… government assets are being sold off. There is a need to write editorials on this. But the Congress will not comment on those who have no ideology or tradition of sacrifice,” he charged. “The Congress is a thought that will never be finished,” added Patole, stressing that overt friends were better than treacherous friends.

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