PUNE, Aug 16 (PTI): Amid the buzz over a meeting between Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit
Pawar and his uncle Sharad Pawar, ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan said that those who align with the
Congress will stay with it and those keen to go with the BJP are free to do so.
Speaking to a Marathi channel in Satara, Chavan said on Wednesday the Congress is preparing
strongly as it wants to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Asked if last week’s ‘secret’ meeting between NCP founder Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar and recent
developments in the NCP will impact the three-party bloc of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), Chavan said
the leaders of the respective parties will take whatever decisions need to be taken.
The MVA comprises the Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Sharad Pawar
faction of the NCP.
Referring to the NCP, Chavan said whatever is happening in their party, the leaders of that party
would be able to comment.
The NCP split last month after nine senior leaders of the party, including Ajit Pawar, joined the ruling
dispensation of BJP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
On August 12, political circles were abuzz after a “secret” meeting took place between Sharad Pawar
and Ajit Pawar at a businessman’s home in Pune. Senior NCP leader Jayant Patil was also present.
Chavan said those with the Congress as part of the MVA will continue to fight “communal” parties.
“Those who align with us will stay with us. Those who want to go with the BJP can do so. Nobody is
holding anyone’s hand. The picture will get clearer gradually. We, as Congress, are preparing
strongly because we want to defeat the BJP in the 2024 elections,” said Chavan.
Asked about reports claiming that the Congress will contest elections along with the Shiv Sena (UBT),
Chavan said he had no such knowledge.
“Any such matter (regarding alliance) will be taken up by the core committee of the MPCC
(Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee), and the approval will come from AICC (All India
Congress Committee) in Delhi after discussions with the ally,” he said.