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NCP to use Marathi card to counter MNS

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar says will give Raj Thackeray a fitting reply in elections.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai | Updated: April 17, 2014 12:47:28 pm

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar says will give Raj Thackeray a fitting reply in elections.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar,who has embarked on a mission to win for NCP 85-90 of the 288 assembly seats in the state in 2014,will flash the Marathi card in pockets that connect with the sons-of-the-soil slogan to check the growth of MNS.

NCP has asked its Mumbai chief and MP Sanjay Dina Patil to become pro-active.

Senior ministers Chhagan Bhujbal,Jayant Patil and Sachin Ahir,who know Mumbai and Thane well,are being consulted to work out ways to check MNS and Sena.

Last elections,NCP won only one of the five Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai. Mumbai (36) and Thane (24) contribute 60 seats to the state assembly,one-third of its strength.

Almost 48 hours after the face-off between NCP and MNS,Ajit urged party workers at a closed-door meeting Friday to maintain calm and not fall to MNS tactics of violence. The message came after NCP president and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar asked the state unit not to disrupt law and order.

“Let us gear up for a political battle against MNS. We will teach them a lesson in elections,” Ajit said.

A senior NCP general secretary said,“Frankly speaking,we are in a dilemma. Senior leaders are asking us to adopt a moderate line against MNS. But young turks are getting impatient and want to toe the hard line.”

NCP political managers said,“Politically,it does not suit us to have enemies on all fronts. The NCP versus MNS battle will help Congress,which would not leave space for us in regions of Mumbai,Nashik,Pune and Thane.

“In the 2009 parliament elections,Congress won five of six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai because of tacit support from MNS. Raj is taking on Ajit to make deeper inroads in Western Maharashtra.”

Senior NCP ministers said,“Political violence makes us vulnerable as home minister RR Patil represents NCP. Being a ruling party,people are always going to blame NCP.”

The seniors will try to quietly work to consolidate the Marathi vote bank to defeat MNS.

NCP,which has a regional party identity,always uses the Marathi card to woo voters unlike Congress,which banks on north Indians in Mumbai and Thane.

Four MNS members held

Pune: Four MNS members were arrested Thursday for allegedly attacking the NCP office here,police said Friday. The office was targeted Wednesday after tension in parts of the state following stone-pelting by suspected NCP workers at the convoy of MNS chief Raj Thackeray at Bhingar in Ahmednagar district Tuesday. Ashish Sable,Abhishek Thite,Sachin Katkar and Ranjit Dhage were produced in court and remanded in two-day police custody.

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