Sharad Pawar-BJP face off as poll campaign heats up

Radheshyam Jadhav | | Updated on: Oct 15, 2019
Home Minister Amit Shah

Home Minister Amit Shah

NCP chief Sharad Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar

Congress fails to galvanise cadre, banks on the NCP leader

Even as the ruling BJP claims that the Maharashtra Assembly elections would be a cakewalk for the party, PM Narendra Modi, Party President Amit Shah, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and several other cabinet ministers have joined the election campaign in the State.

The ruling BJP-Sena combine was hoping it would be a one-sided election as many Congress and NCP leaders deserted their parties ahead of the polls and joined the BJP.

“However, as election campaign simmers and allegations and counter allegations are flaring up, it seems that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar has been able to pose a challenge,” says Chetan Chavan, a Kolhapur citizen.

“If it is a one-sided election as BJP leaders are pretending, why are the PM and cabinet ministers busy in Maharashtra?” asked Pawar at a public meeting. Pawar has caused a stir with his aggressive election speeches.

The Maratha strongman is taking on Modi, CM Devendra Fadnavis, Ministers and Amit Shah in his speeches.

With less than a week to go for the polls, the BJP is out campaigning in full force.

Modi and Shah will be addressing a series of meetings in the next few days, while central ministers are covering almost every district of the State.

BJP insiders said that as majority of State stalwarts are stuck in their assembly constituencies, BJP’s national leaders are supporting Fadnavis’ efforts to reach voters.

The lone rangers

Fadnavis said that he was confident of bouncing back to power as people are more than willing to vote for the BJP. Party Chief Uddhav Thackeray is the only star campaigner in Shiv Sena who is travelling across the State to seek votes.

Sena has no second rank leadership which can draw crowds and convert it into votes.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is the sole campaigner the party has and he is concentrating on urban votes in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik.

Even though Rahul Gandhi has started campaigning in Maharashtra with a rally in Latur, the Gandhi scion is unable to energise party cadre and candidates, admitted a senior party leader.

The party is struggling to put up a fight and is largely banking on ally Sharad Pawar’s public meetings and rebel candidates in the BJP-Sena camp.

Published on October 15, 2019
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