NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said the people in Maharashtra are looking for a change and he will ensure that constituents of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) contest the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections together.
Pawar was speaking to reporters after the newly-elected Congress MLA from Kasba Peth Assembly constituency in Pune city, Ravindra Dhangekar, visited the NCP chief at his residence here.
Dhangekar elected by common people of Kasba: Pawar
He said Dhangekar was elected by common people in the bypoll in Kasba Peth, a BJP bastion, as he has been working for them for the last several years.
Queried whether a formula of contesting elections jointly will be repeated by MVA in the upcoming civic elections, Pawar said his colleagues in NCP are looking into this aspect.
"However, my efforts will be to ensure that the constituents of MVA remain together, take joint decisions, and face the state Assembly and Lok Sabha elections together," he said.
People in Maharashtra looking for change: NCP chief
The former Union minister also said the people in Maharashtra are looking for a change.
"I am roaming in the state and the people are telling me that they want a change. They want us (the Opposition) to come together. These are people's sentiments," he said.
The MVA, formed after the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections when Uddhav Thackeray fell out with old ally BJP, comprises the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), NCP, and Congress.
In the Kasba Peth byelection, results for which were declared on March 2, Congress-MVA candidate Ravindra Dhangekar trounced BJP's Hemant Rasne by more than 10,800 votes.
Pawar said initially the victory in Kasba Peth looked distant given BJP MP Girish Bapat's hold on the constituency.
"Bapat's speciality is he had strong relations within the party cadres and also enjoys cordial relations with non-BJP groups. So we assessed that Kasba Peth would be difficult for us as Bapat's concentration in the constituency was good. But in the end, we realized that there were murmurs about whether his suggestions were considered while deciding on the BJP candidate," he said.
He credited the victory to the work done by Dhangekar and the hard work of MVA constituents.
Traditional BJP voter didn't like money being distributed: Pawar
Queried about the BJP allegedly trying to bring a Hindutva element in the last phase of the election, Pawar said he had heard that people spoke highly about Uddhav Thackeray who headed the erstwhile MVA government.
Speaking on the allegations that money was distributed by the BJP ahead of the polling, the NCP chief said that he was shown some pictures of bundles of notes but he didn't go deep into the matter.
"These pictures were shown to me by people who are not in politics. They told me that they have been voting for a particular ideology but said that when they saw the distribution of money, they decided to go away from these people. The traditional voter didn't like it and it was revealed in the election that people didn't accept these things," Pawar said.
The BJP had denied allegations of any links to the purported distribution of money to voters.
Pawar speaks on burning issue of onion prices
Speaking on the crash in onion prices and complaints by farmers about procurement from NAFED, the former Union agriculture minister said some cultivators from Nashik informed him that the purchase of onions is not happening properly.
"Prices of onions have decreased but no care is being taken to handle them. The state and the Centre governments had not taken any decisions. Farmers say that whatever decisions that have been taken by the government are not appropriate," he added
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