NCP, which is Shiv Sena’s key ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, has firmed up an ambitious plan to spread its wings in state and improve its tally from the present 54 to about 100 seats in the coming assembly elections. The Sharad Pawar led party is keen to change its image of Maratha dominated and western Maharashtra centric party to pan Maharashtra party representing all sections of the society. As a part of outreach programme, NCP state unit chief and minister of water resources Jayant Patil will start the 17-day Rashtrawadi Parivar Samwad (NCP Family Dialogue) tour from January 28, to cover 14 district, 82 assembly segments by travelling almost 3,000 km in the first phase. Patil will hold 135 interactive meetings with party workers and address 10 rallies.
Patil set the tone by clarifying that NCP has no plan to go solo but it certainly proposes to consolidate its position across Maharashtra. ‘’Every party has the right to grow. NCP does not have any plan to fight assembly elections independently as the party is a key ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Our goal is to defeat BJP,’’ he noted. Patil will start his tour from the naxal affected Gadchiroli district in the underdeveloped Vidarbha region and conclude at Jalgaon which is the home district of Eknath Khadse in North Maharashtra. Khadse had last year quit BJP and joined NCP.
Patil’s statement comes days after Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Nana Patole, who even before his official appointment as the state unit chief has announced that the Congress will go solo to assume power and thereby regain its past glory.
Further, Patil’s timing to start his tour coincides with NCP’s gains in the recently held 12,711 gram panchayat elections. It is also to reach out to the party workers and voters ahead of ensuing elections to the municipal councils, municipalities and municipal corporations.
Patil’s tour will commence amid the raging controversy over renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv and also various Maratha organisations are concerned over delays in the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs due to ongoing legal battle.