Nana Patole reiterates NCP backstabbed Congress, Ajit Pawar says ‘statement ridiculous’

A day after state Congress president Nana Patole accused ally NCP of backstabbing his party by joining hands with the BJP in the Gondia Zilla Parishad president polls, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday termed the allegation as “ridiculous”, asking Patole whether the BJP, too, should accuse the former of backstabbing it, as he had quit the saffron party to join the Congress in 2018.

Patole on Thursday, however, reiterated his allegations of deceit by the NCP. He said that the Congress “will not tolerate being ill treated by its partners”.

Speaking to mediapersons, Pawar said, “Nana’s statement is ridiculous. You all know he joined the Congress after quitting the BJP. So, should the BJP allege that he backstabbed it to join the Congress?”

Patole’s outburst comes in the backdrop of tactical voting by the NCP’s Gondia unit, where it joined hands with the BJP to elect the president of the Gondia Zilla Parishad on Tuesday.

Addressing mediapersons, Pawar said that while speaking, responsible leaders should ensure that their statements are not misconstrued. He added that in the given situation in the state, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress can cross the magic figure of 145 in the 288-seat state Assembly only if they are together.

Maintaining that there could be differences among leaders of the two parties at district levels, he added that such issues won’t arise if there is coordination among the Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents.

BJP’s Pankaj Rahangdale has been elected as the president and NCP’s Yashwant Gunvir as the vice-president of the Gondia Zilla Parishad. Rahangdale, who polled 40 votes, defeated Congress’ Usha Mendhe, who got 13 votes. Gunvir, meanwhile, trounced Jitendra Katre of the Congress.

Patole, however, reiterated his allegations. “The NCP has backstabbed us by entering into an alliance with the BJP in Bhandara and Gondia Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti president elections. By doing this, NCP has broken the written agreement between Maha Vikas Aghadi allies just to come to power. If this is not backstabbing, then what is it? I have raised this question as the entire country and the state knows me and my journey,” he told mediapersons.

He added that after the results of Bhandara and Gondia Zilla Parishad elections were declared, the three allies had decided to come together. “The NCP kept us on the edge till the end and went with the BJP at the last minute and established power in the Panchayat Samiti and Gondia Zilla Parishad. (State NCP chief) Jayant Patil has admitted that I had contacted him frequently. If he had said earlier that he wants to go with BJP, we would not have had any problem, but the fact that he joined hands with BJP by keeping us in the dark was not the right,” Patole said.

He further said that the Congress was committed to following alliance rules and was not interested in disturbing the alliance. “I am going to inform party leaders about how the NCP has treated us in the last two-and-a-half years. We will not tolerate being ill treated by our partners. We have never been desperate for power. The Congress is competent to worry about the consequences,” Patole said.

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