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Amidst boisterous Sena-BJP pitch, Cong, NCP emerge silently

Published On : 09 Feb 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu

Mumbai (The Hindu): NCP’s online campaign highlights developments in Navi Mumbai, Pimpri-Chinchwad corporations; Congress targets each ward, exposing ‘sins’ of BMC rulers

MUMBAI: While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are busy in a fierce campaign battle, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are silently targeting each ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Despite its limited strength in Mumbai, compared to the rest of Maharashtra, the NCP was the first to announce its candidates’ list and to take lead in campaigning by organising an election rally of party chief Sharad Pawar. “We exactly know what we are aiming at and how to proceed. It is true that our campaign is hidden behind this fictitious fight between the Sena and the BJP, but we are confident to increase our tally this time,” said Sachin Ahir, Mumbai unit chief of the NCP.

The NCP has 13 corporators in the 227-member house, and has fielded 177 candidates this time, after an alliance with the Congress could not materialise.

According to Mr. Ahir, the party has devised an effective online campaign. Party MP Supriya Sule’s call of #youshouldknow countered the Sena’s tag line, #Didyouknow, as it highlighted the Sena-ruled BMC’s failures.

The online team of the NCP focusses on five themes, which include countering the manifesto of the Sena and promises of the State government. The campaign, ‘Mumbaikar Jara Vichar Kar’ (Mumbaikar, give it a thought), appeals to voters to look at the development in the NCP-ruled Navi Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad corporations, in comparison to that of Mumbai.

“Our aim is to reach every voter. We are highlighting our achievements, as part of the previous State government, and as a ruling party in other municipal corporations. They should know that we have delivered development,” Dhananjay Garje, chief coordinator of the NCP, said, adding, had it been an alliance with the Congress, the picture would have been completely different.

The Congress, on the other hand, is running an online series exposing ‘PAAP’ (sins) of the Sena-BJP by charge-sheeting them in various alleged scams. A satirical series ‘Khau-bhau’ (Fadnavis and Thackeray) is all set to be introduced in the online campaign. A street play penned in Marathi is also being organised at the ward level.

“This is a municipal election, where reaching out at the ward-level matters the most. Mr. Thackeray and Mr. Fadnavis may continue fight for the amusement of media, but we are targeting people at ground level and this is going to be the game changer,” said party’s Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam.

Mr. Nirupam said every leader of the party has wholeheartedly joined the campaign. “We do not get dismayed by the rallies of the Sena-BJP. Our focus is on every ward, because that will be the key to our success.”

Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP P. Chidambaram will be participating in the campaign on February 12, where he will address professionals, and a youth conclave in Bandra.

The NCP, too, is all set to bring its big leaders like Praful Patel in the coming week, and Ms. Sule is likely to hit the streets in the weekend. “We are going with a plan and I am sure the results will be out on February 23,” said Mr. Ahir.


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