Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday said that PM Modi’s strategy of campaigning, by talking about how the BJP government scrapped Article 370, will not work well in a state-level Assembly election.
“These tactics work at the national level; not at the state and local level, where issues like unemployment and discontent among farmers are prominent,” Thorat told The Indian Express.
The BJP has been trying to cash in on the removal of Article 370 in its state election campaigns. “But this will not go down well with voters in Maharashtra,” Thorat said. “There are daily challenges and hardships faced by farmers and the youth and these elections are related to those issues,” he added.
At a time when Maharashtra’s Sangli and Kolhapur districts were facing the fury of floods, the government could not rise to the occasion, Thorat alleged. “The BJP leaders were talking about the nullification of Article 370 and here people were drowning. Nobody would have got so angry had Chandrakant Patil, the guardian minister for Kolhapur, been present when the area was flooded,” Thorat said.
The Congress leader also came down strongly against the Enforcement Directorate “targetting” Sharad Pawar by linking him to a money laundering case. “This kind of harassment was not correct. No one in Maharashtra has liked it,” Thorat said.
Talking about the Congress’s plans, he said: “As promised in our manifesto, we will ensure that farmers’ loans are waived. Unemployment will also be the main focus of our campaign.”
Thorat admitted there would be a close fight between candidates in various seats in Maharashtra, including in Shirdi, where his own relative faces Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Vikhe Patil, a senior Congress leader, joined BJP after the Lok Sabha elections. “There will be a tough fight in Shirdi. We are hopeful of several seats from the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions,” Thorat said.