Maharashtra: NCP plans big reshuffle to revive its fortunes

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2015 22:35 IST

Still smarting from its defeat in both Lok Sabha and assembly elections last year, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will rejig its organisation to revive its fortunes.

The party's top brass went into a huddle late on Tuesday to decide new heads for Maharashtra and Mumbai units.

Sources said the party’s top brass was discussing whether to continue with state unit president Sunil Tatkare or choose a new one.

Sources said a new head for party's Mumbai unit is likely to be picked. Former ministers Sachin Ahir and Nawab Malik are frontrunners for the post.

The decisions will be formally announced in the NCP's general meeting on Wednesday in the presence of party chief Sharad Pawar.

Senior leaders said the party top brass was looking at the party’s revival after last year's crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

“It has been a year since the Lok Sabha elections and roughly six months since the Assembly polls were held. The Modi wave is no more effective as seen in several elections, including Delhi Assembly polls and civic elections in Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad. This is the right time to start the process to revive the demoralised party,” said a senior party leader.

The party’s top brass is not impressed with Tatkare's performance but it is divided over his tenure. Some think he should be given more time. Also, the party leadership has largely been from western Maharashtra and Tatkare represents coastal Konkan, where the party hopes to make some progress.

If Tatkare is removed, the choice for the post could be Dilip Walse-Patil, a close confidant of Pawar, or Rajesh Tope, who hails from central Maharashtra (Marathwada).

The election of Mumbai unit head is significant as the crucial election to Mumbai civic body is two years away and the party’s city leadership has failed to enthuse workers.

In Mumbai, the party is all set to replace Sanjay Dina Patil, whose tenure has been lacklustre. The front runners for the post are former legislators Nawab Malik and Sachin Ahir. The party is of the view that Malik would serve as a Muslim face and counteract All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which is spreading its wings.

Since its inception in 1999, the NCP has been without power for the first time. Its leaders say it now needs to revitalise itself. The next two years are important as several municipal corporations as well as zilla parishad elections are due in the state.

Party trivia

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was formed in 1999 after Sharad Pawar walked out of the Congress, opposing the foreign citizen issue of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

However, the NCP has allied with the Congress and held plum portfolios both at the Centre and the state.

Top NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Sunil Tatkare, Chhagan Bhujbal are facing corruption charges.

Since its formation, this is the first time that the NCP has been without power in the state.

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