With its latest move of poaching senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s elder brother Panditanna and nephew Dhananjay [yet to be formally announced], the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has made deeper inroads into Marathwada or central Maharashtra.
Marathwada was once a Congress bastion but was later captured by the saffron combine. In the 2009 assembly polls, however, the Congress did better than the rest. However, the Munde saga now and the results of the municipal council polls earlier, shows that it’s the NCP that is making the longest strides in the region. Sources in the party as well as political experts term the move as part of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s ambitious plans for the 2014 assembly polls.
The party of sugar barons that draws its power from western Maharashtra hopes to emerge as the largest party in the 2014 assembly polls. To this end, it has been spreading its wings in other areas including Konkan and Marathwada. It is well known that if NCP succeeds, Ajit, nephew of Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, will claim the top job in the state. “Ajit Pawar has challenged the political base of Gopinath Munde, BJP’s sole big mass leader. Discrediting Munde on his home turf is a head-on attack that will work in NCP’s favour,” said Surendra Jondhale, political analyst.
The NCP that is already strong in western Maharashtra, has begun building a strong base in coastal Konkan region. Ajit Pawar wants the party to emerge as a single largest party in 2014 assembly election and has embarked on a massive expansion spree.