The plan, being firmed by chief minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and NCP leader Sharad Pawar, is being designed as both a Maratha counter to Delhi against the spate of raids, arrests and seizures by central agencies on various MVA leaders and ministers and a follow-up of a recent proposal from West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for such a meeting, said people aware of the matter.
“The united fight against the Centre’s misuse of central investigating agencies for vendetta against the state governments and leaders of various opposition parties will soon start from Maharashtra with a meeting of leaders of various opposition parties from across the country. Uddhav Thackeray ji and Pawar Sahib are discussing the details and are reaching out to other leaders,” said an MVA leader, who did not wish to be identified.
The Congress is the third MVA member and the move also coincides with two senior Congress leaders’ grilling by the Enforcement Directorate a few days ago in the National Herald case.
When All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leader Mamata Banerjee wrote to various opposition leaders on March 22, suggesting they come together for such a meeting, she had tactically left it to others to choose a convenient place. “I urge everyone to come together for a meeting to deliberate on the way forward at a place as per everyone’s convenience and suitability. The need of the hour is for all the progressive forces in this country to come together and fight this oppressive force,” she had said in her letter.
She is known to share a good rapport with both Pawar and Thackeray and she had visited them in Mumbai a few months ago to discuss opposition unity. Similarly, TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao too recently visited the duo in Mumbai for similar reasons.
Almost all non-NDA state governments, including those being led by the Congress, AITC, MVA, AAP, DMK, TRS and the Left, have raised complaints against the Centre, be it on the issue of central agencies, federalism or financial assistance. Only Odisha’s BJD regime and Andhra Pradesh’s YSRCP government remain two notable exceptions.
Given the Congress party’s rift with the AITC, AAP and TRS, some feel an MVA platform could prove a possible precursor to opposition unity on larger planks. NCP and Shiv Sena also share close rapport with many other opposition leaders, including some estranged BJP allies.