The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar launched its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls on Monday, without much fanfare, which advocated reservations for Muslims and Marathas in education, jobs and government services and supported the formation of new States.
The reservation for Maratha community has become a major political issue in Maharashtra and the state government had to appoint a committee led by Industries Minister Narayan Rane to prepare a detailed report. Voicing protest against state government’s non-implementation of the Rane committee report recommendations, certain Maratha leaders like Vinayak Mete had even quit the party in recent weeks.
The NCP manifesto also assures financial assistance to both communities for education and self-employment. The party has also promised to implement Sachar Committee recommendations within a stipulated timeframe.
The party has also supported the formation of new States if it is found economically viable and is supported by local people’s sentiment in majority.
Among other features, the party has opposed the imposition of uniform civil code and sought the enactment of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2013.
The party too has ranked the Food Security Bill, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Right to Information Act as the top achievements of the UPA government.
Acknowledging Mr. Pawar’s contribution as the Union Agriculture Minister, the party manifesto credited him for paving way for a second green revolution. It has also promised to enhance private sector participation in agriculture through contract farming and land leasing arrangements.