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Mumbai: Shiv Sena on Saturday said that the Opposition should first unite against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before deciding who will be the leader of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The party's statement comes after poll strategist Prashant Kishor earlier targeted the Congress by stating that its leadership was not the divine right of an individual and pointed out that the party has lost more than 90 per cent elections in the last 10 years.
Shiv Sena, in its mouthpiece Saamana, urged the Opposition parties not to go after Congress in a bid to come to power. "Congress is still there in many states. In Goa and Northeast states, the Congress leaders have joined Trinamool and the same is true with AAP," Saamana said.
The editorial also stated that forming an alliance like the UPA would only strengthen the BJP. "Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should take the lead and come forward to strengthen the UPA," Saamana suggested.
Shiv Sena also appreciated the efforts of Priyanka Gandhi during the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and said, "If Priyanka had not have visited Lakhimpur Kheri then the case would have been dismissed. She played her role as an Opposition leader."
"Who has the divine power to lead the UPA is secondary, first we need to provide an option to the people," it added.
This comes after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's "there is no UPA" remark evoked a strong response from several Opposition leaders. At an event in Mumbai, the TMC chief said if all the regional parties come together then defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be very easy. Trinamool Congress was once part of the UPA or United Progressive Alliance, an alliance of several parties including Congress that remained in power at the Centre for 10 years from 2004 to 2014.
After the TMC's landslide victory in West Bengal Assembly polls held earlier this year, Mamata is continuously pitching for a strong alternative at the national level but indirectly taking on Congress. Congress received a major jolt in Meghalaya after 12 of its MLAs out of 17 joined Trinamool Congress, making it the state's main Opposition. One of the prominent figures of the new entrants includes former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma.
TMC has witnessed a steady stream of leaders joining its ranks after quitting from Congress in the last few months. In September, former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro joined TMC after resigning from the primary membership of Congress. Following Faleiro shift, nine other leaders from Congress also joined TMC.
Congress MP from Assam's Silchar and ex-president of All India Mahila Congress, Sushmita Dev had joined the TMC in August this year. She has been assigned to look after TMC's affairs in Tripura. Moreover, Luizinho Faleiro and Sushmita Dev both were awarded Rajya Sabha seats after joining TMC.
Congress leader Kirti Azad and former Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar also recently joined TMC. Tanwar was once a close aide of Rahul Gandhi. (ANI)