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Ajit Pawar’s NCP releases poll manifesto, leaders highlight ‘secular’ ideology

The NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar unveiled its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, emphasizing a caste-based Census and promising Minimum Support Price for farmers. The manifesto also seeks Bharat Ratna for late Yashvantrao Chavan and emphasizes social equality. Ajit Pawar affirmed that despite joining the Mahayuti alliance, the party maintains its secular ideology. The manifesto highlights include classical language status for Marathi, women’s empowerment measures, and support for senior citizens.

“Our party believes in the right to live as a human irrespective of caste, creed, and religion. It believes in equality and unity,” the manifesto stated, reflecting the NCP’s commitment to social justice. Praful Patel, the NCP’s Working President, highlighted that their agenda aligns with the inclusive and progressive growth propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, Patel clarified that despite joining the Mahayuti alliance, the party remains steadfast in its ideology of Phule-Shahu-Ambedkar, which is inherently secular.

The manifesto’s major highlights include advocating for classical language status for Marathi, demanding Bharat Ratna for Yashwantrao Chavan, and pushing for a caste-based census. It also promises measures to ensure opportunities for higher education, entrepreneurship, and employment for students from minority communities. The NCP pledges a service and facility-centric policy for Haj Pilgrims, Minimum Support Price for farmers, and the establishment of working women hostels in cities across Maharashtra. Additionally, it proposes a 33% reservation for women, 50% concession for senior citizens in railways and metro, and the inclusion of senior citizens above 70 years under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Meanwhile, NCP leader Jitendra Awhad criticized Ajit Pawar over PM Modi’s controversial remarks, alleging mistreatment of Adivasi leaders. Awhad accused Ajit Pawar of withholding funds allocated to the Adivasi ministry, causing disruptions to the campaign trail. He further claimed that Ajit Pawar insulted ex-Adivasi minister KC Padvi on multiple occasions, raising concerns over the party’s treatment of marginalized communities. Awhad also criticized the Election Commission’s response to PM Modi’s remarks, accusing them of inaction despite the communal undertones in Modi’s speech.

In summary, the NCP’s manifesto outlines a comprehensive agenda focused on social justice, economic empowerment, and inclusive growth. Despite joining the Mahayuti alliance, the party remains committed to its secular ideology and pledges to address the needs of marginalized communities. However, internal criticism from NCP leader Jitendra Awhad highlights potential rifts within the party regarding its treatment of Adivasi leaders and response to communal rhetoric.

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