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Praful Patel cites Cong-Samajwadi Party friction in Madhya Pradesh to question unity among I.N.D.I.A parties

Vadodara: Former Union minister and member of NCP’s Ajit Pawar faction Praful Patel on Saturday cited the spat between the Congress and Samajwadi Party in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh to cast aspersions on the unity among the constituents of the I.N.D.I.A bloc.

Patel, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, said one will get to see many instances like the one where the leaders of the Congress and SP, which are part of the opposition grouping I.N.D.I.A, got into a war of words over seat sharing in MP.

Akhilesh Yadav has accused the Congress of betrayal over seat sharing in MP and asked who would trust the party if it behaved like this. When media persons asked Congress leader Kamal Nath about the episode, he told them to not talk about “Akhilesh-Vakhilesh”.

Yadav on Thursday hinted that the Congress could get the same treatment from his party in Uttar Pradesh after it went ahead with its lists of candidates for MP polls leaving no seat for the SP.

“Listen to the statements made by Akhilesh Yadav accusing Congress of not willing to allow SP to contest elections in Madhya Pradesh, and what Kamal Nath said about him. You will get to see many such incidents in the future. I.N.D.I.A bloc looks very good, they take pictures, eat together, but that is not how they are going to find a way out,” Patel told reporters.

Patel said that the I.N.D.I.A bloc members even failed to reach a consensus over a common symbol for the alliance when they met in Mumbai. “You can understand the kind of unity there is in the bloc,” he said.

With the Lok Sabha elections approaching, Patel said, their NCP faction will decide on its future strategy as it is now a constituent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Considered an old confidant of NCP founder Sharad Pawar, Patel sided with Ajit Pawar when he and eight party MLAs joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra in July this year. Subsequently, Patel was sacked as the NCP working president.

“After the state Assembly elections get over, senior leaders will sit together to decide (on seat sharing for Lok Sabha election),” Patel said.

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) grouping came into being primarily to put up a united front against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Gujarat NCP leader Jayant Boksi and supporters received Patel at Vadodara airport, from where he proceeded to Nadiad to offer prayers at temples during the intervening days of Navratri.

On Sunday, Patel said he would participate in the ground-breaking ceremony of Khodaldham Mandir at Patan, in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.

(Published 21 October 2023, 16:09 IST)

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