‘Attempts to topple MVA govt. won’t succeed’

Confident that any attempt by the BJP to bring down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government won’t succeed, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has asserted that the Uddhav Thackeray-led dispensation is stable and will continue to rule the State.

He also slammed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for its actions against leaders of the alliance and their family members as “misuse of authority”. “It has been a year now (since the MVA government assumed office)… they (BJP) were to bring down the government in two months, then they were to do so in six months, then in eight months. But, nothing will happen,” said Mr. Pawar.

“It is a stable government and it will continue,” he said.

The MVA government completed a year in office last month. All through this period, various BJP leaders have been saying that the government will collapse, citing ideological differences among the alliance partners.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena had contested the 2019 Assembly polls together, but their alliance fell through over the issue of chief ministership. It was Mr. Pawar who is said to have then rallied the Sena, the NCP and the Congress to form the MVA.

The Maratha stalwart, who has been Maharashtra’s chief minister four times and has also been a Union minister, is seen as the guiding force behind the functioning of the State government.

When asked about the ED’s notice to Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha, Mr. Pawar said, “This is a misuse of authority.” The ED had summoned Ms. Raut for questioning in the over ₹4,300-crore PMC Bank money laundering case. She is now expected to appear before the Central probe agency on January 5 after skipping summons thrice.

Mr. Pawar said, “They even tried to give me a notice once but later withdrew it. I was not even a member of the bank and I didn’t have any account in that bank.” Last year, the ED registered a criminal case in the multi-crore Maharashtra Sahakari Cooperative Bank and the role of Mr. Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar, and others had come under the scanner of the probe agency.

The ED did not eventually summon Mr. Pawar, but the NCP president had at that time insisted that he would visit the probe agency’s office. He dropped the plan later after the State police requested him not to go ahead to avoid a possible law and order situation. The Sena has been alleging that the Central probe agencies are unfairly targeting its leaders.

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