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Uddhav Thackeray Is Not Joining NDA: Sharad Pawar’s NCP

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Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray will not switch to the ruling BJP-led NDA, Maharashtra NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) President Jayant Patil asserted on Thursday, seeking to scotch speculation about a possible crossover by a key ally of the party. 

The Shiv Sena (UBT) won nine Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in the just concluded elections, the same as the BJP, while its rival faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde bagged seven.

Addressing a press conference here flanked by NCP (SP) president Sharad Pawar, Mr Patil said he had met Mr Thackeray and congratulated him for the success of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra where the opposition bloc won 30 of the 48 seats.

“There is no chance that he will switch sides,” the former state minister affirmed when asked about speculation that started after Mr Thackeray skipped a key INDIA alliance meeting held in New Delhi on Wednesday and reports in a section of the media about backchannel moves for a rapprochement with the BJP-led grouping.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut represented the party in the meeting.

Mr Patil said former chief minister Thackeray is geared up to install an MVA government in the state, where assembly polls are due in October.

The NCP (SP), the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Congress are constituents of the MVA, a state-level alliance, and they are also part of the INDIA bloc.

“There is tremendous unrest among people about the state government,” Mr Patil said, hitting out at the Shiv Sena-led ruling coalition which also consists of the BJP and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP.

Asked about his party MLA Rohit Pawar’s post on X indicating the possibility of some MVA leaders being in touch with the ruling Mahayuti alliance and the need to be vigilant to avoid any betrayal in the upcoming assembly polls, Mr Patil said, “I don’t want to speak about it.”

The NCP (SP) won 8 out of 10 seats it contested, the Shiv Sena (UBT) nine out of 21 and the Congress 13 seats of the 17 it fought in the state.

Replying to questions on the possibility of NCP MLAs loyal to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar returning to the Sharad Pawar camp, Mr Patil said it is premature to comment on the issue.

The Maharashtra NCP (SP) president, however, noted that there is a visible change in the mindset of some people post the Lok Sabha election results.

The Ajit Pawar-led NCP won just one Lok Sabha seat.

“I don’t want to comment on it since it is too premature. Our party has been cleansed and whatever inductions we will do, will happen only after thorough checks. Only two of the eight newly-elected MPs are sitting Lok Sabha members. Sharad Pawar still has the capacity to bring in a new leadership and we will do this in the assembly polls as well,” Mr Patil averred.

The former minister said the extended working committee of the NCP (SP) will meet on June 9 at YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai.

Sharad Pawar will address a public meeting organised in Ahmednagar on June 10 on the occasion of the party’s foundation day, he added.

The BJP won 240 Lok Sabha seats, falling short of the 272 majority mark, but the party-led NDA is comfortably placed at 293 in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The INDIA bloc has won 234 Lok Sabha seats, 99 of them by the Congress.

 Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) chief Uddhav Thackeray will not switch to the ruling BJP-led NDA, Maharashtra NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) President Jayant Patil asserted on Thursday.    

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