The Maharashtra Congress on Saturday announced its plans to hold a Jan Samvad Yatra' from September 3 to September 12 to highlight the "failures" of the BJP government at the Centre.
The party will kickstart the programme after the meeting of the INDIA bloc, forged by opposition parties to take on the BJP-led NDA in next year's general elections, in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1.
Addressing a press conference, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said their party leaders will travel at taluka, village and city levels in all regions during the period to "highlight the failures of the (BJP) government and spread the message of the opposition alliance".
Former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan will lead the Yatra' in Western Maharashtra and Marathwada respectively.
Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat will take the lead in North Maharashtra, while it will be helmed by Vijay Wadettiwar, leader of the opposition in the assembly, in West Vidarbha. Patole himself will lead the Jan Samvad Yatra in East Vidarbha.
As part of the programme, all state Congress leaders will tour the coastal Konkan region for two days.
Patole accused the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making efforts to undermine the Constitution.
"Democracy is under attack in the country. The politics of power is for selfish interests, there is the misuse of central probe agencies to instil fear (among rivals). We will expose the government on these issues," he said.
Thorat said the issues of supplying water through tankers and cattle fodder are yet to be resolved as rural Maharashtra is facing a drought-like situation. He said August is ending but has literally seen no rain. "But the state government is indifferent," he alleged.
Thorat also targeted the Centre over onions.
"The government said 2 lakh tonnes of onions will be procured at Rs 2,410 per quintal but it is very less. Also, the procurement is being done on conditions," he said.
Ex-CM Ashok Chavan alleged that the state government is deliberately delaying local body elections to ensure that they don't impact the ruling alliance's prospects in next year's Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
Since June 2022, Maharashtra has been governed by the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and BJP. A section of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Ajit Pawar joined the ruling coalition in July. Ajit Pawar was then made a deputy chief minister along with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis.
"Even in the last one and a half years, the state government took no steps to restore the Maratha quota. Unless the Centre brings a Constitutional amendment to waive the 50 per cent limit on reservations, Maratha quota cannot be restored," Chavan said.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi, comprising the Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) group with Sharad Pawar, is gearing up to host the INDIA meet in which more than 26 opposition parties will participate, said Chavan.
"Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Rahul Gandhi will attend (the INDIA meet), while Sonia Gandhi is likely to participate. Rahul Gandhi will visit the Congress office in central Mumbai on the evening of September 1. He will be felicitated by the state Congress," Chavan said.
The former CM said that the agenda of the INDIA meet will be finalised at the national level. The road ahead for the opposition alliance is likely to be discussed, he said.
"There will be an informal meeting on August 31 followed by the formal meeting of the INDIA bloc on September 1. The alliance's logo will be unveiled on August 31," he said.
The MVA has formed several committees to plan various aspects of the INDIA meet in Mumbai.
Sources on Friday said the committees, which include two leaders from each of the three parties, will take care of media, social media, accommodation, transport among other things.
The Congress will handle media and publicity, while the NCP will take care of transport.
The Shiv Sena (UBT) will look after accommodation, they said, adding that more than 200 rooms have been booked in Grand Hyatt hotel, which will be the venue for the two-day meet.
The INDIA grouping's first meeting was held in Patna in June, while the second one took place in Bengaluru in mid-July. The Bengaluru conclave finalised the name of the bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).