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​No More National, Confused NCP Leaders Await Next ‘Pawar Move’ to Avert Maha Crisis


(From left) Supriya Sule, Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Sanjay Raut at the NCP chief’s residence on Tuesday. (PTI)

(From left) Supriya Sule, Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Sanjay Raut at the NCP chief’s residence on Tuesday. (PTI)

Many NCP leaders feel the leadership of the MVA will again go to Thackeray and the NCP will have to accept a secondary role. The leaders feel while it is unlikely that the central agencies will target Pawar, they could be the next targets

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has lost recognition as a national party, is currently in a state of confusion. From senior party leaders to first-time MLAs, all are anxious, even as informal meetings are underway to brainstorm.

As the current government of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde completes nine months, there are many theories about the final verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) the case of disqualification Shiv Sena MLAs.

Given the scenario, the NCP leaders are confused about their role and what next.

Most of the people’s representatives in the NCP are powerful leaders in their respective constituencies.

WHO WILL BE NEXT?

Sharad Pawar broke away from the Congress and formed the NCP. The NCP is known as a group of people’s representatives who are elected on the basis of their own might and work they have done for many years in their constituencies rather than the party.

Until 2014, the NCP, along with the Congress, enjoyed power at Centre and in Maharashtra. In 2014, for the first time they were hit by the Modi wave. Barely after five years of the Devendra Fadnavis government, when the Shiv Sena broke its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and rebelled, the NCP got a chance to sit in power once again as the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) with Uddhav Thackeray as the CM. And this time, the NCP was more powerful than the Congress.

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Despite coming to power, in the past two-and-a-half years, many leaders of the NCP faced crises, from the arrest of Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik to senior leaders such as Ajit Pawar and Hasan Mushrif being troubled by the central agencies.

The senior leaders fear who will be next?

FADNAVIS STOPPED FUNDS

The first-time MLAs are worried about the 2024 elections. During the Uddhav Thackeray regime, these MLAs received huge funds for development works. But deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis has now stopped it. Not only this, the scheme which the MVA had approved has been suspended, which will make it tough for the MLAs to answer their voters.

ALSO READ | The Maha Picture: Pawar Play to Limit Cong Field? What it Means for Oppn Unity in 2024 Match

THE RISE OF UDDHAV THACKERAY

Another issue bothering the NCP is the growing dominance of Uddhav Thackeray. The public response to Thackeray has upset the NCP leaders. After the debacle of the MVA government, Thackeray has focused on the organisational structure of his party. He has tried to create awareness among his party workers through various tours and meetings.

Even in the ‘Vajramooth’ Sabha of the MVA, Thackeray’s dominance remains visible. Many NCP leaders feel that the leadership of the MVA will again go to Thackeray and the NCP will have to accept a secondary role in the state and in the alliance.

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Pawar has taken a stand that he will not go with BJP under any circumstances. Considering Pawar’s age, experience and his position in politics, it is unlikely that the central agencies will target him. But those who have served as ministers for many years during the NCP era are aware that they may be the next target of the central agencies. Unlike the earlier closed-door meetings, several NCP leaders are openly talking about it.

TWO GROUPS

As per sources, there are two groups in the NCP. One is of the opinion that if they follow the path of Shinde, there will be short-term benefits. But the other faction fears the serious effect it could have during the elections.

ALSO READ | Opinion | Sharad Pawar: A Forever Optimist and Consummate Player in Power Politics

The question troubling the NCP is which issue should be raised among the public during the election? Party supremo Pawar is fully aware of this unrest and is also talking to many leaders.

Will there be a big upheaval in the NCP in the coming time or will this storm dissipate in the blink of an eye? Only time will tell.

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