[Sharad Pawar and Narendra Modi in a file photo.]
Mumbai: Barely five days after the Shiv Sena (UBT)'s alliance with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), an apparent war of words has suddenly erupted between two new allies, here on Friday.
Sena (UBT) MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut has advised VBA President Prakash Ambedkar to "watch his words" while talking about the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar.
He was referring to Dr. Ambedkar's remark that "Pawar is still with the BJP". Soon after the VBA-Sena (UBT) partnership was announced on January 23, Ambedkar made the said remark sparking a fresh political row.
Responding sharply, Raut declared that "we do not agree with Dr. Ambedkar's statement on Sharad Pawar at all".
"The Congress and NCP are the allies of the Sena (UBT) in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Opposition coalition. We would request Dr. Ambedkar to be careful what he speaks about Sharad Pawar henceforth," said Raut.
He said that all must work together in the MVA by keeping past differences at bay and forge a strong united front to tackle the political challenges ahead.
Undeterred by Raut's snub, Dr. Ambedkar retorted by saying dismissively he would have obliged "if the same advice had come from Sena (UBT) President and ex-chief minister Uddhav Thackeray".
The VBA chief reiterated that in politics "no parties are enemies of each other", but made it clear that his party would not tie-up again with the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), its former partner for a few years.
Dr. Ambedkar also said that if the BJP discards its 'Manusmriti' there would be discussions with them since stopping dictatorship and saving democracy is the need of the hour for which all like-minded parties should come together.
On January 23, the 97th birth anniversary of the late Balasaheb Thackeray, the Sena (UBT)-VBA formally announced their much-anticipated 'Shiv Shakti-Bhim Shakti' political alliance for the upcoming civic polls.
However, both the MVA constituents Congress and NCP had cautiously "welcomed" the new partnership, though they reportedly harbour reservations on its efficacy.
The ruling BJP leaders like state President Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane had scoffed at the development, and predicted that the alliance would collapse soon.
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