The Congress-NCP might be alliance partners but in the recent past on various occasions both parties have had differences with each other. Sharad Pawar a shrewd politician and an opportunist have always remained untruthful to Congress. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which had threatened to pull out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government buried the hatchet after the Congress accepted the idea of a coordination committee both at the Centre and in Maharashtra to ensure that its allies are consulted and involved in important decisions. While the one in Delhi will include all UPA allies, the one in Maharashtra will be a Congress-NCP panel. Since independence UPA has ruled our country for more than 60 years. Several occasions the party has seen worst of defeat but they bounced back to power and ruled for long years. In Maharashtra Congress-NCP ruled for several years, and time and again Pawar has threatened Congress of withdrawing its support.
INC is more than 100 years old and NCP is new party. They wanted to differentiate themselves from Congress party (INC) of which Sonia Gandhi became the head. Sonia Gandhi was being mooted as Prime Ministerial candidate, as Sharad Pawar started NCP. Ideologically, to this day, they’ve allied with Congress in most polls. NCP was started as Sharad Pawar’s had ambition to become Prime Minister of India. They’ve kept the option of uniting with Congress, but with Sharad Pawar getting so old that he can’t speak legibly and with Modi becoming stronger by the day, his ambitions are up in the air. These days he silently supports Sena and BJP both, his only motive is to fulfill his daughter’s dream of becoming CM of state. Pawar was never loyal to Congress.
On 25th May 1999, three leaders of the Indian National Congress, who were expelled from the party for strongly disputing the right of Italian-born Sonia Gandhi to become the leader of the INC, joined hands to form a new party under the name of Nationalist Congress Party or NCP. The three leaders, were Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangma and Tariq Anwar. They, along with thousands of their supporters assembled at No. 6, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road, New Delhi to form the new party and this marked the Red Letter Day of the country. Sharad Pawar was made the President of the NCP and P.A Sangma and Tariq Anwar were made the General Secretaries of the Party. The Election Commission of India has recognized the NCP as a National Party. In the history of the country, this was the only party to have attained the status in such a short span of time. Though primarily based in the state of Maharashtra, the NCP has gradually gained prominence in states such as Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. It is even present in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The present INC is headed by an inexperienced and inefficient, young leader Rahul Gandhi. On the other hand NCP is headed by a highly experienced veteran politician Sharan Pawar. Rahul Gandhi has not held any ministry either in any state or Centre, while Sharad Pawar was CM of Maharashtra several terms and has held senior ministries several times in the Centre. Though both the parties are losing out, the pace is faster in respect of INC. It is completely effaced from many states where it was once ruling. NCP is very much relevant in Maharashtra.
Sharad Pawar need not have to canvas for his candidature for getting elected, whereas for Rahul canvassing is required to get elected. His sister does that for him. Interestingly the NCP which has always adopted an aggressive posture towards Congress is equally lost the sheen in state but Pawar alone is still strong man in Maharashtra politics. Through the last few days, the two NCP Ministers had skipped one Cabinet meeting and stopped attending office. Their complaint was that the NCP as well as other allies were not being included in the decision-making process, whether it is related to policy issues, or appointment of governors. The NCP may have pulled back from the brink, but its brief “revolt” has seen it become a rallying point for other UPA allies, including the DMK, the Trinamool Congress and the National Conference, with a fair amount of back and forth among these parties. The Lok Sabha election results have been a debacle for the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra. Nobody would have anticipated such doom for the Democratic Front government, especially which the Congress would lose in all seats but one.
The civic body elections in Maharashtra gave big blow to the NCP. Going by the adverse civic poll results, it seems that Sharad Pawar lost his touch. His Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was the worst-hit among other players. Pawar has seen many highs and lows and has been synonymous with power politics both in Maharashtra and national politics. After his first election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1967, he never lost an election and also completed his 50 years in politics recently. However, the recent elections to the 25 zilla parishads and 10 municipal corporations in Maharashtra have dealt a severe blow to the NCP. The party has come down to the third position from the first despite its perceived strong rural base. Eyebrows were raised because it fared poorly even in western Maharashtra which had been its stronghold. The NCP was ousted from power in four municipal corporations, including Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, which are Sharad Pawar’s bastion. It also lost two other municipal corporations — Solapur and Amravati — where it was ruling in alliance with the Congress.
People have lost faith in both, the Congress and the NCP. Senior party leaders are facing corruption charges. Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal is lodged in jail. Senior NCP leaders like Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare too are facing charges on irregularities in irrigation projects with the result the party did not field them to campaign. NCP is seen at the back of the recent Maratha agitation demanding quota. This has resulted in the non-Marathas dumping the NCP. NCP and the Congress fought the elections separately when an alliance could have helped both. Moreover, people were not deceived by Sharad Pawar’s anti-BJP stand while he was coming to the rescue of the BJP. Gestures of the Modi Government awarding him the Padma Vibhushan did not go unnoticed. Sharad Pawar, who has taken a back seat, had been talking of concentrating on social work for 60 per cent of his time and doing politics for the 40 per cent. The NCP survives mainly because of Sharad Pawar who has leadership qualities, money power and political acumen. But they can never grow above INC, both should realize that they have become irrelevant to the voters, now state has only two parties Shiv-Sena and BJP in people’s mind, and in such circumstances if INC and NCP exposes their differences there are chances they will be shunted out of state politics by voters itself.
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