Rahul Gandhi’s yatras made all the difference in the Lok Sabha polls, says Nana Patole

Patole's mission is to oust the BJP and its allies out of power in Maharashtra in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha polls.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 03:12 IST

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Mumbai: After positioning Congress as the No.1 party in Maharashtra and the only state in India in which the grand old party  crossed the double-digit mark in Lok Sabha polls, Nana Patole asserted  that the credit goes to Rahul Gandhi's back-to-back Yatras.

The turnaround for the grand old party was possible because of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, said Patole, the President of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).

Patole's mission is to oust the BJP and its allies out of power in Maharashtra in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha polls.

"If you look at the map of Maharashtra carefully and match it with the routes of two yatras, you would see that most of the parliamentary seats along it were won by Congress or its alliance partners," said Patole, a former Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

The Congress' success in Vidarbha, the region from where Patole hails, has been mercurial. 

Patole said that the Congress has transferred its votes to the two key allies of Congress in Maharashtra - the Uddhav Thackeray-headed Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP).

A vocal critic of Narendra Modi, and the first to rebel as an MP and resign from the BJP during Modi's first term as prime minister. Patole said, "His speeches have not gone down well in Maharashtra....the PM was spewing venom and this is not expected from a person who holds the most important post. Modi's popularity is in decline," Patole told Deccan Herald.

I.N.D.I.A bloc has gained space in the hearts and minds of people, he said. 

"During the Bharat Jodo Yatra and Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Rahul Gandhi has spread the message of love across the country...the people of this great nation see a lot of hope from him," he said, adding that the two crucial Uttar Pradesh seats of Amethi and Raebareli have boosted the morale of party workers.

Patole said that ever since the Maha Vikas Aghadi has been formed the Congress leadership in the state has sensitised the party workers to fight the battle in unison with our allies, around a dozen.

"We have followed alliance-dharma even though we may have had some setbacks in some seats," he said.

Patole made it clear that the Congress deserves to contest the maximum seats in the Assembly polls looking at the result of general elections.

Patole said that after the polls he had discussions with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi. Maharashtra and Mumbai units of the party are "battle ready" for the Assembly polls.

"We will defeat BJP and its Maha Yuti allies Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP," he said and criticised BJP's Devendra Fadnavis for toppling the MVA government.

According to Patole, the top leadership including state Working President Naseem Khan, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar,  Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat, former Chief Ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde, Mumbai Congress chief Prof Varsha Gaikwad and her team have started working across the state.

On Ashok Chavan, who left the Congress to join BJP and become a Rajya Sabha member, Patole said, "In the Lok Sabha polls people have shown him his place as the BJP candidate from Nanded lost to Congress.”

He said those who deserted the three key opposition parties in search of greener pastures are suffering.  

"The Cabinet has not seen an expansion. There are no Ministers of State, the post of Chairpersons of state-owned corporations are vacant. The BJP for some or the other reason has now allowed municipal corporation elections to happen," he said, adding that they are suffocating and many are in touch with the Congress.

He said that in the ensuing monsoon session of Maharashtra legislature, the Congress-MVA will expose the Shinde-Fadnavis-Pawar government.

"The law and order situation is in a mess...there has been an increase in crime in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and other places. The government has failed to handle the Maratha reservation issue and was unable to address the concerns of OBCs. The drought situation is very bad," he said.

Asked whether the Congress will take members from other parties if they are willing, he said, "It will be decided on a case to case basis with consent of high command".

Published 20 June 2024, 03:12 IST

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