With Sharad Pawar’s power on the wane, NCP faces an uncertain future

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on May 24, 2019 Published on May 24, 2019

File Photo of NCP leader Sharad Pawar.   -  PTI

The senior leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was in a huddle on Friday, analysing yesterday’s crushing defeat at the hands of the BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The party was expecting at least 10 seats in the Parliamentary elections but won just four. The NCP did manage to keep its prestigious Baramati and Satara seats but failed to get the Maratha strongholds of Kolhapur and Madha.

A senior NCP leader told BusinessLine that in spite of fighting for 22 seats, the party won only four, which was a bolt from the blue. How it will now face the electorate in the upcoming Assembly elections is a big question.

Party of the rich

The perception of the NCP as a party of sugar barons and rich landlords needs to be changed. Unit-level members need to be closer to the grassroot-level problems. The deep agrarian crisis in Maharashtra and its solutions need to be communicated to the farmers before the Assembly polls, the senior leader explained.

The NCP was set up as in May 1999 by Sharad Pawar after being expelled from the Congress for questioning Sonia Gandhi’s claim to the top leadership. Over the years, his political legacy has been carried forward by his nephew Ajit Pawar and daughter Supriya Sule. With Pawar’s ability to woo voters on the decline, the party is worried about its future.

In the just concluded elections, Ajit Pawar’s son Parth Pawar was fielded as an NCP candidate from the Maval constituency but he lost by a whopping 2.16 lakh votes to the Shiv Sena’s Shrirang Barne. Only Sule won by a comfortable margin in the traditional bastion of Baramati.

The senior leader pointed out that Pawar and family are a unifying force in the party.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Mallik told BusinessLine the party lost many seats due to the bifurcation of secular votes, which went to the Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi. The NCP also could not keep up with the hyper-nationalism of the BJP, he said.

Published on May 24, 2019
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