Imagine Congress joining hands with the BJP in any election across the country! Well this has happened, much to the shock of newly appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in Gondia, Maharashtra. On Monday this week, Congress took control of the Gondia zilla parishad, thanks to the support from BJP. The tie-up upset the calculation of Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which had emerged as the single largest party in the local body poll.
The NCP had secured 20 seats, while the BJP and Congress had won 17 and 16 seats respectively. However, BJP supported Congress candidate Seema Madavi for the post of zilla parishad president and the Congress decided to support saffron party’s Hamit Akbar Ali, who was elected vice-president. Interestingly, Congress and BJP have supported each other in the local body for the second time in succession. Moreover, reportedly the initiative for alliance with BJP had come from Congress lawmaker Gopaldas Agarwal
The Congress-BJP tie-up in Gondia threatens to jeopardise the NCP-Congress alliance talks in the state ahead of 2019 General Elections. In fact, NCP leadership had complained to the Congress high command about the unusual tie-up in Gondia.
On Wednesday, The Indian Express had reported that the Congress president Rahul Gandhi has asked for an explanation from the state unit of the party. The state Congress, however, washed its hand from the controversy on Tuesday itself by saying that the district unit had kept it in dark about the tie-up. Congress Maharashtra president Ashok Chavan had said this, as per IE.
The Congress and NCP have been at odds in Gondia for years. They share a bitter relationship in the district. PTI had reported last week that Congress and NCP were facing “practical difficulties” in renewing their alliance for the 2019 elections. The two parties had broken up ahead of the 2014 assembly elections in the state.
Former chief minister of state Chavan was quoted as saying that both parties would have together won 35% votes. They are now facing practical difficulties in renewing the tie-up.
Recently, BJP MP Nana Patole from Bhandara-Gondia seat had quit the party and joined Congress, necessitating bypoll in the seat. But Congress local leaders are not in favour of alliance with the NCP for the bypoll. How, both NCP and Congress patch up for the bypoll will decide of future of their alliance in the state for next year’s elections.
For the Bhandara zilla parishad poll, Congress had joined hands with Congress.