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Milind Deora's Exit Rings Alarm Bells for UBT; Also a Prelude to a Potential Congress Exodus?

Milind Deora's recent exit from Congress raises eyebrows, hinting at a potential shakeup right before elections. Is this the beginning of a larger shift in the party?

Milind Deora's Exit Rings Alarm Bells for UBT; Also a Prelude to a Potential Congress Exodus?

Mumbai: On January 14, as Congress leaders departed from Delhi for Manipur to participate in the 'Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra,' the prominent figure within the party, Milind Deora, tendered his resignation. Within hours, Deora aligned himself with the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena.

 

Addressing his shift to the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction), Milind Deora remarked, "Many have questioned why I severed the Congress ties that my family maintained for 55 years. My loyalty to the party during its most challenging decade was crucial. Unfortunately, there's a significant disparity between the Congress my father joined in 1968 and today's Congress." This departure takes on added significance as a seasoned politician like Milind Deora aligns with the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena, not the Uddhav Sena. In the 2019 general elections, Arvind Sawant, currently the South Mumbai MP, had defeated Deora before the Shiv Sena split.

 

Despite claims by the UBT Sena that they secured the 2019 elections independently, Deora's choice to join the Shinde Sena, an ally of the NDA with strong support from PM Modi and the BJP, suggests a different narrative that the win of most MPs of pre-split Sena in 2019 was due to the charisma of PM Modi. This move, especially with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in mind, hints at a likely ticket from Shiv Sena, be it for Lok Sabha or a promised Rajya Sabha seat. Regardless of the specific seat, Deora's choice signifies confidence in Shinde Sena's victory, bolstered by recent decisions like the Maharashtra assembly speaker not disqualifying Shinde's MLAs, including CM Shinde. Milind Deora's departure draws parallels with the exit of former Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, who joined Shiv Sena before the party split. Had the UBT Sena been stronger post-split, Deora might have leaned towards it. However, his decision to join the Shinde Sena indicates a strategic choice, acknowledging the potential strength of Shinde's faction in the forthcoming elections.

 

Indeed, Milind Deora's move comes as a significant surprise for both the UBT Sena and the Congress, both parts of the MVA in Maharashtra. Earlier, during the MVA rule, BJP leaders including Devendra Fadnavis and Ashish Shelar speculated about a potential exodus of Congress leaders post the Bharat Jodo Yatra. But no such a departure after the yatra concluded raised two possibilities; one is either those predictions were lies or the Bharat Jodo Yatra hadn't really concluded. It appears that the latter scenario holds true, as Rahul Gandhi initiates the second phase of the Yatra named Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Milind Deora's departure aligns with earlier speculations from BJP leaders. Additionally, whispers in Maharashtra's political circles suggest the potential crossover of Ashok Chavan, former CM and a significant figure in Congress, to the BJP, turning speculation into a plausible reality.


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