Congress & NCP need to pull up socks, start afresh

With state Assembly polls approaching, Cong-NCP alliance faces tough challenge to fare well against BJP, which has already made its presence felt in their traditional bastions. While VBA emerges as gamechanger, MNS is yet to take a call. DNA takes you through this ride of extremes

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Congress & NCP need to pull up socks, start afresh


After a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha poll, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) face a huge challenge to revive and stay afloat to take on the mighty BJP and its ally Shiv Sena in the coming Assembly elections slated to take place some time in September-October. Both the Congress and the NCP have separately launched an exercise to review the debacle and assess the ground level situation in all 48 Lok Sabha and 288 Assembly seats. However, they fear political migration may gather momentum in the run-up to the election and it will be difficult to find even candidates against the saffron parties for a couple of seats.

The Congress and NCP, that miserably failed to retain power after their 15-year-long rule in the 2014 election, have not only lost their traditional bastions, but are completely clueless about how to create a new vote bank especially by luring first-time voters and youth amidst rapid urbanisation, which is over 50% in the state.

Also ReadTough nut to crack: Congress-NCP combine will have to change narrative of nationalism

The Congress and NCP hint that they will make efforts to bring Prakash Ambedkar promoted Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) on board. However, insiders indicate that they won't be able to fulfil Ambedkar's demand for seats as in the Lok Sabha poll, which will impact poll prospects of the Congress and NCP.

On the other hand, the BJP and Shiv Sena, which together have achieved a lead in 225 of the total 288 Assembly seats, are confident of a repeat of their Lok Sabha victory in the upcoming Assembly polls. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and ministerial colleagues Chandrakant Patil, Girish Mahajan, and Sudhir Mungantiwar have been repeatedly making statements that the BJP and Sena will jointly grab 220 seats, largely due to their strong organisation and ample resources.

The mood is upbeat in the saffron alliance while the morale is quite low in the Congress and NCP, that not only lack resources but have a weak organisational base.

The BJP ministers are at the forefront to further demoralise the opposition camp saying that they may not even cross 50 seats in the Assembly poll.

Also ReadRainbow coalition might make mark, hopes Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who has already completed two rounds of his visits to drought-affected districts, has exhorted the party members to forget the defeat in the Lok Sabha election and rework their strategy and set new goals to win the Assembly poll. His mantra is to capture the growing number of urban voters by changing NCP's rural centric image by visiting every voter in their area and also by increasing contact through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

However, Pawar will have to do major surgery to curb factionalism and field the youth brigade to improve NCP's tally.

Also ReadDoes success hurt more than loss? Shiv Sena-BJP alliance to tell

The Congress is still in panic as it does not know the fate of party president Rahul Gandhi and also its state chief Ashok Chavan. Gandhi so far is firm on his resignation while the party is yet to take a call on Chavan's resignation after the Lok Sabha election debacle.

Several leaders have blamed the Central and state leadership for not putting up a show of unity and aggressive campaign in the general election. Party legislators are making a strong case to launch efforts at a massive scale to reach out to Dalits, Muslims, other backward classes, and urban voters to rebuild the party's organisation.

Also ReadMaharashtra Navnirman Sena 'not certain' how to brace for state polls

A large number of district leaders have called for a major facelift in the organisation and decision on Congress party's alliance with the NCP for the Assembly poll.

In Dilemma

  • The Cong and NCP have not only lost their traditional bastions, but are completely clueless about how to create a new vote bank especially by luring first-time voters
  • The parties hint they will make efforts to bring VBA on board 
  • Sources say they won’t be able to fulfil Ambedkar’s demand for seats
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