Senior Congress leader Nana Patole has said that the party will contest the next Assembly polls in Maharashtra alone, news agency ANI reported. Patole, also the president of the Maharashtra Congress, put forth his candidature for the chief ministerial role.
"Congress will contest the Maharashtra Assembly Elections alone. I am ready to be the CM face if the high command decides," he said.
Patole had earlier too made similar remarks. He had said that Congress will be the top party in Maharashtra by 2024. Patole, 57, is a four-time MLA. He currently represents Sakoli seat.
The Congress is a constituent of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra. Besides Congress, the MVA comprises Shiv Sena and NCP. The government is headed by Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray.
Reacting to Patole's comment, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said that all are "free to expand and strengthen their party".
"It's not a merger but an alliance of 3 parties, We don't have any commitment to contest every election together. In local polls, local leaders take the decision. We only strategize for Lok Sabha & state elections," he said.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress came together to form government in Maharashtra following the Assembly polls in 2019, after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party had a fallout with the BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.
Notably, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had last week said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi will do well in the next Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, indicating the three parties -- NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress may contest the 2024 polls together.