If we get majority, we can do without help of allies like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is learnt to have told party workers in an interaction held in Pune on Wednesday.
Gandhi also asked party functionaries to not get bogged down by the propaganda of the Opposition as the party would set in motion its election strategy at the right time.
Gandhi was responding to a litany of complaints from Congress party workers against ally NCP. Several party men told Gandhi that it was time to break the 14-year-old alliance with NCP and they were willing to sit in the Opposition to revive the Congress party. There were also complaints that NCP was using muscle powers against Congress in rural areas.
The Congress vice president empathized with the cadre but said that they should understand the compulsions of coalition politics. Gandhi pointed out that Congress needs support from other like minded parties to run UPA government and it was left with little options in states like Maharashtra. He also cited example of Tamil Nadu, saying similar political situation prevails there.
“The only solution to overcome this situation is to ensure maximum number of seats in Lok Sabha. If we can get majority, we will be able to strengthen the party in our own way”, Gandhi told workers and asked them to work in that direction.
The Congress and NCP have been sharing an uneasy alliance in the state. The complaints by party workers come in the wake of the recent public spat between the NCP chief Sharad Pawar and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan as well as NCP’s unilateral announcement to contest Delhi assembly elections independently.
Rahul addressed a series of interactive sessions with party’s local leadership and cadre from Western Maharashtra, Konkan and North Maharashtra, concluding his two day visit to the state, widely seen as a preparation for the run up to 2014 polls.
The Congress vice president later while addressing a meeting of the Maharashtra Congress asked party workers to not get bogged down by the propaganda of the Opposition as the party would set in motion its election strategy at the right time.
``What happened in 2004 when BJP gave slogan of India Shining ? What happened in 2009 when BJP announced L K Advani as Prime Ministerial candidate? We are observing and doing our work silently..”, Gandhi told state delegates.
He also asked party workers to sink differences and work cohesively for the party. “Time has come to take stringent action against those, who work against the party. A strong message must go those, who work against the interests of the party”, said Gandhi.
During all the sessions, Gandhi gave a patient hearing to the workers hearing out complaint and asking questions on several occasions. He was flanked by Congress in-charge for Maharashtra Mohan Prakash and Soyraj Walmiki. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakare were sitting in the audience.
CM gets pat on back, other ministers under fire
Rahul Gandhi is understood to have backed chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for his work in Maharashtra. Expressing satisfaction about Chavan’s performance, Gandhi, however, said that same was not the case for some other ministers, who need to work on their performance. He, however, did not mention name of any minister.
Get Kalmadi back
A section of Congress workers in Pune submitted a memorandum to Gandhi, requesting to revoke suspension of Suresh Kalmadi. The memorandum says Kalmadi was the only candidate, who can meet the challenge of BJP-Sena in Maharashtra.