THE Congress-NCP coordination committee meetings at Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri to resolve the ongoing conflict at the ground level took a turn for the worse on Saturday with workers from the two parties coming to blows.
A meeting at Sawantwadi saw NCP workers openly declaring they would not be able to campaign for Congress candidate Nilesh Rane, the sitting MP and son of state’s Industries Minister Narayan Rane.
The fierce infighting in the Congress-NCP alliance does not augur well for Nilesh Rane.
Though NCP president Sharad Pawar is scheduled to hold a public rally for Nilesh on Sunday, NCP leaders are public calling upon their leader to cancel it. NCP MLA Deepak Kesarkar said, “It is my appeal to the top leadership to cancel the rally. NCP workers are in no mood to campaign for Nilesh Rane. Narayan Rane is intimidating and ill-treating us. It is impossible to work for them.”
“NCP workers have categorically said they will not work for Ranes. We have already conveyed the same to our state leadership,” he said.
Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri is the lone LS constituency where top leaders of Congress and NCP have failed to unite their workers on the ground. Both NCP president Sharad Pawar and CM Prithviraj Chavan have, over the past 15 days, visited contentious seats in an effort to unite their grassroots workers.
“Congress and NCP workers are united in almost all the constituencies. There are some minor issues which can be tackled. We have held talks with NCP leaders,” Chavan said. State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre said, “Our workers are cooperating with NCP candidates across the state. We expect them to reciprocate in the same way. Individual issues cannot dominate polls.”
On his part, Narayan Rane is terribly upset with NCP’s “anti-Congress” work in the region. He has conveyed to state Congress leaders leaders how NCP is allegedly trying to sabotage Nilesh’s prospects and covertly helping Shiv Sena candidate Vinayak Raut.