Milind Deora formally joined the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena on Sunday, hours after he quit the Congress. His ‘Paksh Pravesh’ took place at the Chief Minister’s official residence- Vershain in the presence of Shinde and other senior party leaders.
After resigning from Congress’s primary membership, Deora said he was going on the “path of development”.
“I am going walking on the path of development,” Deora said as he stepped out of his ‘Ramalayam’ residence on Peddar Road with his wife Pooja to visit Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi to offer prayers.
After joining Shinde’s Shiv Sena, Deora said he was loyal to the Congress during its most challenging decade but now it is different.
“I have been receiving a lot of phone calls since morning why did I sever 55-year-old ties of my family with the Congress party…I was loyal to the party during its most challenging decade.
Unfortunately, today’s Congress is very different from the Congress of 1968 as well as that of 2004. Had Congress and UBT given importance to constructive & positive suggestions and merit and capability, Eknath Shinde and I wouldn’t have been here. Eknath Shinde had to make a major decision, I had to make a major decision “he added.
The former minister went on to say that he believes in the politics of ‘GAIN’ – Growth, Aspiration, Inclusivity and Nationalism.
“The same party that used to offer constructive suggestions to this country, on how to take the country forward, has now just one goal – speak against whatever PM Modi says and does. Tomorrow, if he says that Congress is a very good party, they will oppose it. I believe in the politics of GAIN – Growth, Aspiration, Inclusivity and Nationalism. I don’t believe in the politics of PAIN – Personal Attacks, Injustice and Negativity,” he said.
Deora further said a strong government is needed at the Centre and States in India. “It is a matter of pride for all of us that under the leadership of PM Modi, India is stronger today… I would like to add that in the last 10 years not one terror attack has happened in Mumbai. This is a major achievement for Mumbaikars,” he added.
Once among Rahul Gandhi’s closest aides, Deora ended his family’s 55-year-old association with the Congress due to displeasure over the Shiv Sena (UBT) staking a claim over Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency, a seat he once represented.
The move did not sit well with Deora, who was recently appointed the joint treasurer of the All India Congress Committee. In a video statement last Sunday, he said that if such statements by an “alliance partner” don’t stop, his party too can announce candidates for seats.
Son of Congress veteran Murli Deora, Milind Deora had won Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai South seat in 2004 and 2009. He, however, faced defeat in the subsequent elections of 2014 and 2019 against the then Shiv Sena (Undivided) leader Arvind Sawant- who is now one of the few Uddhav Thackeray loyalists.
The seat was also held by the late Union Minister Murli Deora at least four times in the past, and was seen as a Congress stronghold in Mumbai for several years.