Congress Leader Targets Party Leadership After Team Thackeray Snub

New Delhi:

Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Nirupam today urged the party to consider pulling the plug on their alliance with Shiv Sena (UBT). Mr Nirupam’s remarks come hours after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party snubbed Congress and independently released its list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“The way Shiv Sena UBT has taken 5 seats of Mumbai. It seems that there is a plan to bury Congress in Mumbai. It seems that Shiv Sena wants to force Congress to kneel,” the senior Congress leader told reporters.

“I appeal to the Congress leadership to intervene otherwise break the alliance with Shiv Sena. If Shiv Sena thinks it can fight alone then it is making a big mistake,” Mr Nirupam added.

Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80), will vote in five phases starting from April 19. Results will be announced on June 4.

The three parties which are part of the opposition alliance in Maharashtra – Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT), and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) – have been unable to finalise a seat-sharing plan despite a flurry of meetings before polling in the state begins.

Team Thackeray finally took a call and announced its candidates for 16 seats in the state. The party is yet to announce any candidate for Mumbai South-Central, a seat which the Shiv Sena (UBT) as well as Congress are keen to contest.

Sanjay Nirupam also hit out at Sena’s choice of candidate, which includes Amol Kirtikar, who was today served a notice by the Enforcement Directorate for an alleged multi-crore ‘khichdi’ scam during the Covid pandemic.

“Shiv Sena has forced an accused of the Khichdi scam as a candidate. I will not work for a Khichdi thief,” he said.

He also took at his party saying that Shiv Sena (UBT) announcing a list is a failure of Congress’s top leadership.

“I will wait for a week for the Congress leadership to take a decision after which I am open to all the options,” Mr Nirupam said.

Recently, Mr Nirupam also made remarks on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest which were not in line with the party’s official. While the Congress condemned the arrest and attacked the BJP over the matter, Sanjay Nirupam called for Kejriwal’s resignation after his arrest.

Mr Nirupam reportedly wants to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North West seat and his recent remarks against the Congress have sparked rumours that he could switch to the ruling BJP alliance, which is yet to announce a candidate for the seat.

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