The Nationalist Congress Party celebrated its 17th foundation day in Mumbai this week by giving a blueprint of growth for the coming elections, minus the Congress. The party leadership emphasised on creating a different identity of the party among the masses. Senior leaders said that the party members should take up issues affecting the people, and position themselves in a manner that gives them a different identity. While Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter, said the party should be known for its pro-minority stand, Sharad Pawar targeted the BJP, alleging that the party did not respect Babasaheb Ambedkar’s contribution to the country.
Many senior party leaders ended their speeches by shouting, Jai Hind, Jai Rashtravadi, Allah Hafiz, Jai Hind.
“Almost every election, we have fought is with Congress till now. But today, we need to field a candidate in every block... We have to make our party so strong that we don’t have to enter into an alliance tomorrow,” senior NCP leader Praful Patel said, hinting that the party should prepare to go solo for the coming elections. He said that the party needed to position itself as a strong opposition party for that, taking up issues which will strike a chord with people. Citing the example of BJP which started with only two representatives a few decades ago, NCP founder and leader Sharad Pawar said that now BJP has 300 representatives. “It only shows that it is possible to do it, if there is hard work and inclination,” he said at the public meeting of party workers.
He also said that agricultural production had reduced in the past two years and that exports, too, had gone down. “When exports reduce, it means that factory production, too, has reduced. This means employment levels have not increased,” he said.
“Except Assam, they have lost everywhere, and the people have rejected them. In 80% of the zilla parishad elections held in Gujarat recently, the BJP lost its seats. They had to experience defeat in Kerala, Bihar and West Bengal,” Pawar said.
Levelling a stinging allegation against the BJP government, NCP leader Praful Patel said, “Both the Narendra Modi government and the Devendra Fadnavis government are event management companies. They do only marketing.”
Pawar said that the BJP government would not have come to power in Maharashtra, had the NCP and Congress fought the elections together. After the state legislative elections in the state, the NCP had offered unconditional support to BJP from outside.