Allegations against party chief Sharad Pawar with regard to Indian Premier League bids and uncertainty over the outcome of the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha polls are weighing on the minds of Nationalist Congress Party leaders. They have, thus, decided to tone down the celebrations of the party’s 11th founding day today. The party was formed in 1999 after Pawar split from the Congress.
The celebrations will focus on environment, food security, health and education — issues that the party highlighted in its convention at Karla in May—through special programmes across districts throughout the year party spokesperson and legislator Nawab Malik said.
“The celebrations will be year-long through focus on environment, health and education. On the foundation day, NCP workers will carry out street processions in each of the 36 Assembly constituencies,’’ said city NCP president Narendra Verma.
Party functionaries are also in a sombre mood because Pawar is at Breach Candy Hospital, recovering from a surgery.
The day will begin with the hoisting of the flag since the party top brass will be preoccupied with the Legislative Council polls. “Frankly, we don’t have founding day celebrations on our mind. We are preoccupied with the polls. A day before, we want to ensure all our MLAs vote for our candidates,’’ said a senior party functionary.
The party has also planned a tree plantation drive in all districts and a drive to ensure ration cards are available to the poor.
Their party’s main concern is geting three candidates elected to the Council and two to the Rajya Sabha.
It is a prestige issue for minister and Pawar’s nephew, Ajit Pawar, the de facto head of the party’s state unit since the Congress is planning to get four candidates elected to the Council and has an additional candidate contesting the Rajya Sabha polls.