Duped in 2008, the NCP prepares a sweet revenge on Congress-Politics News, Firstpost
The BJP faces a big chance in the next election, but Congress is unable to capitalize on it.
Bhopal: After nearly five years of political hibernation, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party is ready to resume action in Madhya Pradesh. With the experience of the “betrayal” of Congress in the 2008 legislative elections still painful, the party decided to go it alone in the state. The NCP is said to have no seat-sharing agreement or any pre-election alliance with any other party.
In the seat-sharing exercise before the 2008 elections, Congress pledged 10 seats to the NCP. He ended up not relinquishing a single seat, which resulted in the latter’s inability to appear at the polls at all. This was followed by the removal of then-state president Hamid Qazi from the party by Pawar. He then joined Congress. A marginal state actor at best so far, the NCP seeks massive gains from the poor electoral prospects of the outgoing BJP government and the opposition Congress. Pre-election polls suggest that none of the bigger parties is set for a clear victory.
In 2008, the BJP won 37% of the vote against 36 in Congress. Uma Bharti’s BJSP won 4% of the votes that the BJP counts as its own. The BSP’s share of votes was 8.24% and that of the SP was 1.20%. The NCP fielded 105 candidates across Madhya Pradesh and won a 2.5% share of the vote.
The BJP faces great challenges in the upcoming election, including corruption charges, declining popularity charts of top Shivraj cabinet leaders and ministers, and the not-so-recent sex controversy involving top cabinet minister Raghavji. Combined with the anti-titular mood, the party has a difficult task. To make matters worse, the party’s own polls predict a drop in voting margins as well as seats. Up to 20 ministers and 60 MPs could lose if they contest, if the polls are to be believed.
Burdened with “factions within factions”, Congress, by contrast, does not seem able to capitalize on the weaknesses of the BJP. The loss that the latter could suffer in the form of votes and assembly seats, does not seem to consolidate as a gain for Congress. The NCP wants to close the gap. The party’s state chairman, Brijmohan Shrivastav, has announced his goal of fielding candidates in the 230 Assembly constituencies of Madhya Pradesh.
Shrivastava, a senior congressional official, a well-known strategist with great aptitude for political maneuvering and poll calculations, has extended his attention across the state in search of candidates who can win. On target are seats where the BJP and Congress are both unable to present suitable winning candidates. The research focuses on dissatisfied leaders with a powerful base in their regions, who, after giving their lives to the giant parties, were never seen as deserving of a rally ticket. In addition, on target are female state leaders, who poll numbers show have outperformed their male counterparts but will not receive a seat in the assembly to fight for the simple fact that none are available.
The NCP offers 92 seats, or 40% of the 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, to women. Thirty-five seats are reserved for candidates from minorities such as Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Budhs, etc. Wary of the poaching powers of Congress and the BJP, the party has yet to release its list. But according to the president’s claims, 70 NCP candidates are already working in their respective constituencies, and soon the first list of 100 candidates will be announced.
Talk to First post, Shrivastava said: “The NCP is eagerly awaiting this election because it happens to be the most favorable time for a party like ours. The confusion of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is clearly visible. In a recent case, his cabinet colleague and tribal minister Vijay Shah made obscene comments about CM’s wife, Sadhna Singh. Shah was sacked, only to be taken back to the cabinet three months later. The public cannot understand whether the dismissal was right or wrong. Such incidents are numerous and have stripped the CM of its dignity and made it lose popularity. There are many in the party who call him ‘dish-viheen‘CM.
“He made some 9,532 public announcements and organized 35 panchayats for different classes of society. Most of the announcements until today are only announcements. The panchayats had no effect because the promises made were never kept. Again, the party has been severely damaged by the activities of top leaders like Raghavji. Corruption is at an all time high.
He said Congress could have won, but lacks cohesion and there is no single leader to lead the party. “Jyotiraditya Scindia should one day be announced as chairman of the Madhya Pradesh electoral committee and the next day the plan is abandoned. Rahul Gandhi arrives and promises big: “the candidates for the elections would be announced three months before the elections”. There are now a few days left for the electoral code of conduct and yet no candidate name has been announced, ” he added.
NCP’s game plan is simple and clear. With both Congress and the BJP seemingly unable to secure a majority, the party wants to reduce their votes and seats. It would not be unfavorable to enlist rebels on both sides.