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Maha: Alliance eluding, Cong, NCP enter poll mode with rallies

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

With an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Maharashtra, the and the NCP have started working on strengthening their organisational setups separately and launched mass outreach programmes to take on the BJP-led

However, though the parties have launched various programmes in their respective capacities, they have yet to formalise any alliance to contest the elections.

The is holding organisational meetings to take stock of the prevailing political situation while the Sharad Pawar-led NCP has been undertaking "Hallabol" (attack) yatras in various regions of the state since the last few months to "expose" the ruling BJP.

In 2014 polls, both the parties, which had jointly ruled the state for 15 years, had contested separately against the BJP and the However, both of them fared badly during the Narendra Modi "wave" that time.

Senior and former chief admitted that the NCP has taken a lead over the Congress in projecting itself as an aggressive opposition party by attacking the Devendra Fadnavis-led government and maintaining the momentum.

A section of the state Congress unit is unhappy with incumbent Ashok Chavan, a former chief minister, as they feel that he is not aggressive enough to take on the ruling dispensation.

A Congress office-bearer said the party had been organising district-wise camps and was in the process of setting up booth committees, but he admitted that more need to be done.

"We need to project ourselves as an aggressive opposition," he said.

Citing the case of former Congress Narayan Rane, who quit the party last year and joined the NDA, the said the party loyalists are being ignored while turncoats are being entertained.

"What did Rane (a former Shiv Sainik) do for the party which had made him a (in the UPA government) and treated him with respect. Loyalists were made to sit at home and are not given any responsibility," he said.

Another office-bearer interpreted the recent appointments of new leaders on the All India Congress Committee (AICC) as a signal for Chavan to get his act together.

"who demanded Chavan's removal as state has been made the of the SC/ST cell of the AICC, while Rajiv Satav, who is not pro-Ashok Chavan, has been given charge of Gujarat," he said.

Meanwhile, said the party had succeeded in putting pressure on the BJP government through its "hallabol" rallies.

The yatra, which began from Yavatmal in east last December, will culminate in a rally in in October this year.

"The is indulged in publicity campaigns only and is giving false assurances to the people. It has used the to create perception that a lot of development is happening. The government data about the number of farmers being benefited under the loan waiver scheme is not true. The government's claims are not reflecting on the ground," Malik claimed.

However, a expressed confidence over the party's prospects in upcoming polls and pointed at the performance of the party in the local body polls held in the state in the last one year.

"The BJP has won the maximum number of local bodies polls held in the last one year. The party's electoral success is an indication that people are happy with the Devendra Fadnavis government," he said.

According to political observers, the Halla Bol agitation saw a united NCP state leadership in action.

"Even though there is still time for political parties to go to the people, the Congress seems to be lagging behind as it is focussing on organisational meetings as well as district-wise meetings with the party workers," they said.

Malik said during the "Halla bol" campaign, all the state NCP leaders travelled together by road while addressing three to four public meetings on way, during which they interacted with the common people.

"This sent a message that all the leaders of the party are united," he said.

Though the NCP is seeking an early announcement of a pre-poll tie up with the Congress, the seems not to be in hurry.

According to a Congress leader, the party is assessing its own strengths and weaknesses constituency-wise by holding internal discussions.

MPCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) the party had completed its review of all the 288 assembly constituencies and has also finalised its stand to be taken during the Congress-NCP seat-sharing talks.

"Our 'Jan Akrosh' rallies all over the state culminated in a rally in in December last year where many Opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar, participated. The rallies will be organised again soon," he said.

A Congress office-bearer said the state unit is contemplating to focus on a research and feedback cell to help the party prepare for the crucial elections next year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 12:00 IST