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Routed on home turf, jittery NCP gears up for 2017 civic body polls

Pune, the home district of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, has always been a bastion of the party.

Pune |
March 4, 2015 2:45:23 am

By Paratha Sarathi Biswas

AFTER the BJP announced its intention to wrest the Pimpri-Chinchwad civic body from the NCP, with the chief minister himself holding a secret meeting with party leaders recently, the NCP, which was humiliated during the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, has also now decided to get to work and has started preparing for the PMC elections, which are still two years away. NCP leaders said an early start will give the party an advantage, especially needed now when the BJP is on a roll.

Pune, the home district of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, has always been a bastion of the party. Prior to the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections of 2014, the party was always in the majority in both levels of politics. During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, which the party had fought in alliance with the Congress, out of the four seats, it won two seats as well as the majority of the Assembly seats.

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However, the party was completely routed in the 2014 elections, with its MLA tally going down to just three. The party failed to win even a single seat in both the PMC and PCMC areas.

Senior party leaders had pointed to the failure of the party to connect to voters as one of the major reasons for the party’s defeat in both the elections. In order to rectify this, the party, say insiders, will go on a major drive to connect with voters. “During the meeting, the standing committee chairman had spoken at length about the present budget. We are asking our partymen to ensure that people know what work the party has done for them,” a senior party leader said.

Another area that the party will focus on is that of increasing its membership base, and special camps will be organised for it. Also, party workers have been asked to extensively use social media to reach out to people.

“The party had failed to explain what work we had done during the last two elections and this was one of the major causes of our poor showing. We will be rectifying this so we have started well in advance,” said another senior leader.

NCP city president Vandana Chavan said the move was on the basis of introspection after the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. “NCP as a party had never believed in “marketing” as we thought it was our duty to work for the people. However, we have now realised that we need to enhance our connection with the people and tell them the work we have done. We need to counter the culture of false marketing,” she said.

Chavan said the party will be going all out in reaching out to people. The party, she said, will be using its workforce to get to all the segments of society and solve their problems.

“We want the people to realise that we are the only party that can address problems across segments of the society,” she said.

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