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Through a soft spoken Maratha face in Jayant Patil , NCP turns its focus back on western Maharashtra

Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) decision to elect Jayant Patil, 56, as its state unit chief has been an act of balancing regional and caste equations.

pune Updated: Apr 30, 2018 16:04 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,NCP,Jayant Patil
Jayant Patil at the Nationalist Congress Party meet at Nisarg mangal karyalay on Sunday.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) decision to elect Jayant Patil, 56, as its state unit chief has been an act of balancing regional and caste equations.

Patil, a soft spoken Maratha face in the party, hails from Sangli district and has been representing Islampur constituency since 1990. Through Patil, the NCP plans to woo back vote bank from western Maharashtra, its erstwhile stronghold, where the party did not get expected success during the 2014 Lok Sabha and subsequent assembly elections, feel political observers.

The NCP currently has four MPs in the Lok Sabha with all of them been elected from western Maharashtra.

Sunil Tatkare, who preceded Patil, was an Other Backward Caste (OBC) face, while Dhananjay Munde, another party leader and leader of opposition in the state legislative council, is also an OBC.

Served as finance minister of the state from 1999 to 2008, and as home minister from 2008 to 2009 in the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, Patil is also a highly qualified leader in the party. Patil holds an engineering degree from Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI).

Speaking after his elevation as the state unit chief, Patil said that performance should be counted in the party. “We should all give more prominence to the party rather than self. There are no factions within the party,” said Patil, who is considered to be close to NCP president Sharad Pawar.

Party first

Outgoing NCP state unit chief Sunil Tatkare said he would prefer to commit suicide than quitting the party. Referring to reports spread in a section of media, Tatkare said he has always been loyal to Sharad Pawar.

Pawar favours Congress alliance, with conditions

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar hinted of hard bargain while striking alliance with the Congress party in the upcoming elections for state legislative council and by-polls. Pawar said that while there is a need for alliance at the national level, the Congress should not whine on small issues.

Pawar said that NCP’s efforts is to join hands with like-minded parties to prevent division of votes, though the party will not cede seats it won to Congress party. The NCP chief said, “We are ready for alliance in the upcoming polls. But they have to take a cordial approach. What the Congress should stop doing is whining for seats that we have won.”

Among the Lok Sabha constituencies to go for by-polls include Bhandara Gondia, where polls were necessitated after Nana Patole resigned after joining the Congress, and Palghar, where sitting MP Chintaman Wanga’s death necessitated polls. Another assembly seat Palus-Kadegao, which fell vacant after the death of Congress leader Patangrao Kadam, will also go for by-polls.

Among the council seats going for polls, include Raigarh-cum-Ratnagiri-cum-Sindhudurg Nashik, Wardha-cum-Chandrapur-cum-Gadhchiroli, Prabhani-cum-Hingoli, Amravati and Osmanabad-cum-Latur-cum-Beed

Pawar said that NCP will contest elections from seats which the party retained. “There has to be coordination from both sides so we can fight one or two seats while the Congress can contest one or two.”

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 16:02 IST

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