Adityanath’s loan waiver: Cong-NCP seeks similar deal in Maharashtra, eyes anti-BJP bloc
Parties such as the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP want to put up a united front to take on the BJP. Speculations are rife over a Bihar-like grand alliance for the 2019 elections.mumbai Updated: Apr 05, 2017 19:19 IST
After Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s decision to waive farmers’ loans, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party-led Opposition parties have demanded a Rs 30,000-crore farm loan waiver in Maharashtra.
Six Opposition parties, which had recently launched a drive in 16 Maharashtra districts over their demand, got into a huddle on Wednesday to discuss how to intensify their agitation.
Speculations are rife that the joint agitation, which has now got a boost with Adityanath’s move in UP, may lead to a Bihar-like grand coalition. Headed by the Congress-NCP bloc, it might take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections in 2019.
“It is the beginning. We held the sangharsh yatra (which ended near Mumbai on Tuesday). Now, we are discussing how to take our agitation forward. We will take one step at a time,” state NCP chief Sunil Tatkare told HT on Wednesday.
Apart from the Congress and the NCP, other opposition parties that are part of the agitation are the Peasants and Workers Party, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S) and the Republican Party of India (Kawade faction).
“It is more or less clear that the Congress and the NCP will come together for the next assembly elections because we don’t have an option if we want to win power in the state. We lost power in 2014 mainly because we contested separately. Further, if we get like-minded parties with us, we can avoid further split in anti-BJP votes.”
State congress chief Ashok Chavan and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar have already stressed the need for the Opposition parties to come together against the BJP.
The Congress-NCP are rattled by the BJP’s performance in the recent local body polls, where the saffron party did well in both urban as well as rural areas. The two parties are also irked by BJP’s plans to poach their influential leaders and legislators to fortify its position in the run-up to the 2019 assembly elections.
“It is more or less clear that the Congress and the NCP will come together for the next assembly elections because we don’t have an option if we want to win power in the state. We lost power in 2014 mainly because we contested separately. Further, if we get like-minded parties with us, we can avoid further split in anti-BJP votes,” said a senior Congress leader.
In Bihar, prominent parties came together to build a broad opposition coalition which proved a winning combination against the BJP. A similar experiment can be done in Maharashtra, he added.
This is not the first time the Congress and other parties are coming together. In the 1998 parliamentary polls, Sharad Pawar had worked out a Congress-JD-SP-RPI coalition, which had won 38 out of 48 seats in Maharashtra. Then Pawar was in the Congress.
Since 1999, both the Congress and the NCP have been taking smaller parties including various factions of Dalit-oriented Republican Party of India along to avoid the split in votes against BJP and Shiv Sena. Significantly, the Sena is likely to contest Lok Sabha and assembly elections on its own though it is part of the BJP-led governments in the state and at the Centre.