The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said Maharashtra Congress leaders may say that they do not read Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, but Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had taken note of its article which asked why her party could not defeat the incumbent governments in Assam and Kerala.
An editorial in the Marathi publication also sought to know who was responsible for the lack of grass-root leadership in the Congress, whose history dates back to the freedom struggle.
It also said the Congress will have to function as a “strong opposition party in future”.
The Congress suffered a drubbing at the hands of the ruling BJP in Assam and the LDF in Kerala during the recently held Assembly polls in the two states.
Notably, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole recently said he has stopped reading ‘Saamana’ and the Shiv Sena should not comment his party and its leadership.
However, the Marathi daily on Wednesday said, “Sonia Gandhi asked why the Congress could not defeat the incumbent governments in Assam and Kerala despite putting up a good fight. The same question was asked through this column in ‘Saamana’.”
If senior Congress leaders have read the editorial and put across the feedback from the grass-root level to Sonia Gandhi, “it is good”, said the Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress.
It said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, and new Chief Ministers of Assam (Himanta Biswa Sarma) and Puducherry (N Rangawamy) are all former Congress leaders.
“These three had to quit the Congress and then they emerged as strong leaders,” the editorial noted.
It said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was putting up a lonely fight against the BJP and despite facing severe criticism, he always puts forth his point.
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rahul Gandhi criticised the Centre on several points and also made suggestions. After criticising him severely, the government had taken decisions on the suggestions made by him,” the editorial claimed.
The Sena said Rahul Gandhi is the Congress’ “senapati” (commander)and his attacks on the government are specific and to the point, it added.
The editorial further said the Congress will have to function as a strong opposition party in future.
It claimed that there was “anger” among people against the central government on issues like unemployment, economic crisis, inflation, and its handling of the COVID-19 situation.
“At this time, all main opposition parties will have to come down from ‘Twitter’ branches to the political ground…coming on the ground doesn’t mean inviting crowds (at the time of the pandemic), but to question the government every day and hold it accountable,” the Sena said.
The Congress should take the lead and Sonia Gandhi must be wanting to give the same message. She is still the Congress president and it is important to take note of her views, it said.
The editorial also noted that the election of Congress president has been postponed for the third time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even though there may not be a full-time president, a party functions on the strength of its grass-root cadre,” it said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)