India

NCP's Praful Patel blames Congress for its downfall

13 Sep 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

NCP's Praful Patel lashed out at senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra CM, Prithviraj Chavan, for NCP's debacle in the assembly elections of 2014.

Former Union Minister, Praful Patel said "They themselves sank, but also took us along."

The NCP and the Congress alliance were in power for 15 years in Maharashtra; these comments were made before a gathering of NCP workers.

In context: NCP and Congress in an ugly face-off

BackgroundStrain in NCP and Congress Alliance

Senior leaders of the NCP were mired in scams before state assembly elections in 2014.

In 2012, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his relatives allegedly benefited through Maharashtra Sadan's Rs.150 crore project.

In the same year, NCP's Gulabrao Deokar was arrested in connection with a housing-scam.

In October 2014, ACB initiated inquiries against NCP Leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare in an irrigation scam.

NCP withdrew support before polls

NCP withdrew support when an ACB inquiry was initiated against Ajit Pawar. In the state polls held soon after, both parties performed miserably with Congress winning just 41 seats and NCP bagging 40 seats out of a total of 288, their lowest numbers ever.
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13 Sep 2016NCP's Praful Patel blames Congress for its downfall

Key statementsPraful Patel's virulent attack on Congress

Praful Patel told NCP workers in Akola that former alliance-partner Congress and former CM Prithviraj Chavan had conspired to malign the NCP as the BJP-Shiv Sena was a lesser threat.

He claimed "scams weren't really scams" but an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by the Congress to wipe out NCP.

Patel added, "We know how to fight back. We will bounce back with the same force."

Former Union Minister and NCP Leader Praful Patel

Praful Patel: "They sank and they also took us down. But, we are not that weak. We will not drown. We know how to swim. We will come back with all our strength and we will prove that NCP is no less than anyone else."

Who said what?Reactions to Praful Patel's accusations

Congress Spokesperson, Manish Tewari said veracity of the claims was being verified and if it was a state-specific issue, the state party unit would respond.

Spokesperson of the MP Congress unit alleged Patel's comments were intended to stay on BJP's good side and to "humour the Prime Minister".

Political observers believe Patel's accusations were merely a political statement and aren't of much consequence.