Has NCP given up on civic body elections?

Despite party president Sharad Pawar's claim that his party will finish third, the ground reality is different.

Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Mumbai has almost given up on the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Council (BMC) elections. Despite party president Sharad Pawar’s claim that his party will finish third, the ground reality is different.

In the upcoming BMC elections, the NCP is contesting 176 seats out of 227. Earlier the party had attempted to form an alliance with the Congress, but latter refused to accept NCP’s demands.

After the bid to form an alliance with the Congress failed, the NCP decided to go solo in the city. It is banking on its leaders - Sachin Ahir, Nawab Malik and Sanjay Dina Patil to fetch votes for the party. But, these leaders have limited influence and can garner votes only in their strongholds.

With Shiv Sena and the BJP contesting the civic body elections independently, the upcoming polls were seen as an opportunity for NCP to make a foray into the city. On the other hand, a weak Congress is totally paralysed because of the infighting. These factors could have given a chance to NCP to improve its tally in the city.

But a lack of innovative campaigning and state leadership refusal to move out their bastion has dented NCP’s chances.

NCP’s Mumbai unit is already reeling under the blow of Chhagan Bhujbal’s arrest in the disproportionate asset case. Mr Bhujbal is party’s senior leader, who had taken interest in expanding NCP’s footprints in Mumbai. But with Mr Bhujbal facing multiple corruption charges, he is reluctant to look into party affairs. Hence, Mumbai NCP has no crowd puller in the city.

But the party has dismissed the claims that it has given up on the upcoming BMC elections. NCP spokesperson Mr Nawab Malik said, “We don’t believe in staged publicity. Our campaign is on the right track, and all our critics will get their answers through ballots.”

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