In a multi-cornered contest where all main parties are going it alone, Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and MNS have taken a conscious decision to intensify their campaign against the BJP. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the BJP’s face for the Assembly polls, the top leadership of these parties have decided not to lower guard against the prime minister.
In sperate meetings held in the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena offices, the common directive from the political managers was that they would leave no stone unturned to expose the Modi government at the Centre. Modi’s 100-day rule at the Centre is the talking point in the state and leaders across parties are meticulously identifying sectors to expose his weaknesses and question his ‘achche din’.
Leading the attack is NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who at public rallies in rural Maharashtra is going the extra mile to explain how the Modi government is ignoring the concerns of farmers while catering to the interests of consumers. Farmers constitute almost 50 to 55 per cent of the population and the NCP is trying to consolidate its base in the agriculture sector. The party is highlighting the good work done by Pawar as the former union minister in the UPA regime. The positives like surplus food grain production and higher minimum support price given to farmers when Pawar was at the helm are being impressed upon rural masses.
Former Congress chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has a 10-point agenda to target Modi and push him in the back-foot. The BJP had promised to address these 10 issues which even after the Modi government completing 100 days at the Centre have not seen any progress. High on the party’s agenda is to expose the failure of the Centre to streamline the price rise in essential commodities and rising instances of communal disharmony across the country.
Chavan, who represents the urban face, is highlighting the impact of bad economics under Modi regime. The directive from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) is to go hammer and tongs against Modi. The perceived success of Modi during the US tour has further made the Congress, NCP, Sena aggressive in their attack against Modi.
“The 100-day rule of Modi government at the Centre has exposed the failure of the NDA. People will not vote for the BJP as they have seen the real face of the BJP-led NDA government,” said Pawar at a public rally in Kannad. “It is very easy to make promises but difficult to fulfill them,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, which finds itself pitted against a turf war, has questioned the BJP’s might in Maharashtra. The party attributed BJP’s Lok Sabha success to the support base of the Shiv Sena in the state.
“If there is a Modi wave, what is the need for the BJP to organises 20-22 rallies of the prime minister,” said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at a public rally in Parbhani (Marathwada).
He added, “The prime minister of the country rarely campaigns. In the past, prime ministers have restricted themselves to a few rallies during the Lok Sabha elections and hardly any in the assembly elections.”
The fight for seats in Marathwada was a pointer for Uddhav to mince no words in painting the BJP as “betrayer” in the alliance split. As part of his ongoing tour in Vidarbha region, MNS president Raj Thackeray has appeared to be harsher on the BJP as compared to the Shiv Sena.