Special Correspondent

Questions NCP’s strength which is basis for demanding more seats

AURANGABAD: The former Maharashtra Chief Minister and chairperson of the State election management committee Vilasrao Deshmukh on Saturday criticised the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and indicated that the Congress could very well go to the polls on its own strength.

Addressing a public rally here at Garware stadium , which marked the end of the party’s Jan Jagran Yatra, Mr. Deshmukh questioned the NCP’s strength which was the basis for demanding more seats. Seat-sharing between the two allies, the NCP and Congress, was yet to be sorted out and had become a contentious issue.

He also asked the two central observers to report back to the high command that the party was ready for the polls and the issues of alliances should be sorted out as soon as possible.

The Congress tried to muster a show of strength in an area where it has won few seats in the past.

The sitting MP of Aurangabad is from the Shiv Sena. Over one lakh people were mobilised for the rally, held a few days after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s meeting addressed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress had rustled up a large panel of speakers including the former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Industries Minister Narayan Rane, Union Energy Minister Sushilkumar Shinde apart from Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Manikrao Thakre, president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. Mr. Chavan spoke of the need for a secular front to keep the communal forces at bay.

The Jan Jagran Yatra has travelled to various parts of the State, highlighting the party’s achievements. The meeting also marks the launch of the Congress’ campaign in the State and the issues that the party touched upon were the agrarian crisis, terror, the needs of the common man and what the party had done for people.