Ashok Chavan is leading the state Congress’s ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ campaign at Faizpur (File)
Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said today that final contours of the proposed ‘grand alliance’ of opposition in the state will emerge within a month.
The next meeting of the Congress and NCP leaders to discuss alliance will be held on October 12, Ashok Chavan told PTI from Faizpur in Jalgaon district of the state over phone.
“We are keen to take Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, with us and talks are on,” he said, adding that the issue of Mr Ambedkar’s insistence to include the AIMIM in the alliance will be resolved after talks.
While Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen have announced a tie-up, the Congress is reportedly reluctant to join hands with the AIMIM.
“I just want to tell everyone that we should not do anything that will help the BJP,” Mr Chavan said. “The final picture of the grand alliance will emerge in a month’s time,” he added.
The Congress has already held talks with independent MP Raju Shetti, Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Kapil Patil and leaders of the Left parties.
The decision about taking along the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will be taken by the Congress high command in Delhi, Chavan said.
Earlier in the day, Ashok Chavan, who is leading the state Congress’s ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ campaign at Faizpur, lashed out at the NDA government for use of force against agitating farmers who wanted to enter Delhi on October 2.
Addressing a gathering, Mr Chavan said, “At least spare farmers on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. What was the need to use force against them? The true colours of the central government have been now exposed.”
The BJP’s celebration of Gandhi Jayanti was an eyewash and a “photo opportunity” for its leaders, he said. “On one hand they celebrate Gandhi Jayanti and on the other they beat up farmers,” the former chief minister said.
Marathwada and North Maharashtra are facing a serious rain deficit and twenty-six tehsils have received less than 50 per cent of normal rainfall, Mr Chavan said at the rally.
“But Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil wants to set up a commission, wait for six months to get a report and then decide if they will declare a drought,” the Congress leader said.
While the Congress government introduced Aadhaar to put money directly in people’s bank accounts, the BJP tried to “spy on citizens” by linking it to mobile numbers, he alleged.
“I am grateful to the Supreme Court for not letting the BJP use Aadhaar as a tool for surveillance,” he said.
Ashok Chavan told PTI that Marathwada and North Maharashtra have received about 72 to 73 per cent rainfall this monsoon.
“This is 30 per cent shortfall. The government’s loan waiver has not reached the farmers. The government should declare a scarcity situation in these areas and provide relief to people,” he said.