The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have a monumental task to bring back the Assembly poll narrative on severe drought, slide in economic growth and jobs and lapses in implementation of the farm loan waiver from nationalism, Balakot air strike, and Hindutva, which were played up by the BJP and Sena in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election. The agrarian crisis, burgeoning case of farmer suicides, water scarcity, and droughts in 26 of the total 36 districts with more than 12,000 villages relying exclusively on water tankers have taken a backseat.
Voters, practically, from all sections and sectors voted for the saffron alliance as they were impressed by the BJP’s aggressive national security agenda and party’s projection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a strong leader capable of keeping the country safe and speeding up economic growth alongside.
Offence is the best defence was saffron alliance’s strategy to win the general election while Congress and NCP were pushed on the backfoot as they were rattled by jingoism, fervent regionalism and Rashtravad. Both the parties could not twist the narrative in their favour.
Modi in particular targeted the NCP terming it as a naturally corrupt party while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attacked Congress saying the grand old party has only removed poverty of its own leaders.
The BJP’s efforts to bring on board the Sena despite its attack in the last four and a half years have paid off as the saffron alliance together won 41 of the total 48 seats while the Congress could bag one; four by NCP, one by NCP supported independent and one by MIM.
The BJP with its poll-winning machinery has completely outsmarted the Congress and NCP that with 54 other parties and organisations had formed a Mahagathbandhan in the state. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) turned out to be spoilsport for the Mahagathbandhan.
Already, Pawar after casting his vote on April 29 visited drought-hit districts and met Fadnavis seeking the state government’s intervention. The NCP and Congress have asked their cadres to become proactive in providing relief to drought-affected people.
State NCP president Jayant Patil admits that the real task is to take up real issues of the state.
Too many dimensions roll off
- To do well in state polls, Cong and NCP need to bring back the Assembly poll narrative to severe drought, slide in economic growth and jobs, and lapses in implementation of the farm loan waiver
- Voters from all sections and sectors were impressed by the BJP’s aggressive national security agenda and PM Narendra Modi’s projection as a strong decision-maker. The party has extra edge as it pushes for economic growth