Cong shouldn’t allow itself to be arm-twisted by Sena (UBT): Nirupam
   Date :31-Mar-2024

IN THE wake of the Shiv Sena (UBT) announcing 17 candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Saturday said his party should not allow itself to be arm-twisted by the Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit for the seats in Mumbai. He claimed that the Sena (UBT) was not in a position to win any seat without Congress’ support. Earlier this week, the Sena (UBT) brought out a list of 17 candidates, and said it would contest a total of 22 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra. These seats included four in Mumbai. Nirupam himself is eyeing to contest the Mumbai North-West seat from where he lost in 2019. However, the Thackeray-led party’s move triggered unease among the other two Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies - Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) - as the three parties are yet to finalise the seat-sharing deal for the Lok Sabha polls, which will be held in five phases in Maharashtra.
Talking to PTI, Nirupam said, “The Congress should not come under the threat of Shiv Sena (UBT) as the Uddhav Thackeray-led party is not capable of winning any seat without Congress support.” “Shiv Sena (UBT) arm-twisted the Congress to take five of the six seats in Mumbai. But the Congress should not allow itself to be arm-twisted like this. This action is against the Congress and it’s a ploy to finish off the party in the city,” the former Mumbai Congress chief alleged. He said if the Congress is considering friendly fights in the disputed constituencies, he was ready for it. He was responding to Congress leader Naseem Khan’s statement that the party’s State unit has sent a proposal to its central leadership seeking permission to have friendly fights in the six seats.
“Congress should go for friendly fights in Sangli, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai South-Central and Bhiwandi,” Nirupam said. He reiterated his stand of giving a week’s time to his party’s leadership, following which he will take a decision on his future course of action. Speaking on Friday, Khan said, “We met today and decided to communicate to the central leadership that we will have friendly fights on six seats. The manner in which Shiv Sena (UBT) announced candidates on seats claimed by Congress has angered our party workers.”