MPCC chief challenges BJP to lure a single Congress MLA to its side

Mumbai: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) President Manikrao Thakre today dared the ruling BJP to lure even a single Congress MLA and get him re-elected on BJP ticket.

He was responding to a claim by state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve that 21 Congress, NCP legislators were planning to defect to the BJP.

"There is tremendous resentment against the BJP in rural areas for its non-performance and neglect of farmers issues. I dare the BJP to lure away a single Congress MLA and get him re-elected on BJP ticket. If it is done, I am willing to pay any price for it," Thakre said at a press conference here.

The state Congress president also hinted that Danve, who is a BJP MP, had other thoughts when he was not inducted into the central ministry. "We know what his condition was when he was not considered for the ministerial berth," Thakre said.

He said Congress organised the 'rasta roko' agitation across the state today to protest against the "dismal" performance of the BJP-led government in the last 100 days. "They have failed to fulfil a single pre-poll promise and ignored the interests of the farming community," Thakre alleged.

Thakre also said international crude prices have come down by 65 per cent. "Accordingly, diesel prices have not been reduced by the government. The benefit has been given to the oil companies and not consumers. Diesel prices should have been less than Rs 30 (per litre)," he said.

When asked about NCP chief Sharad Pawar's statement in Pune yesterday that Congress will fade away into irrelevance and NCP should step in to take the opposition seats, Thakre asked, "Is NCP an opposition party? We are on the streets highlighting issues concerning people. It is the NCP's responsibility to wipe out the doubts about their intentions."

In other cities across the state, Congress workers held 'rasta roko' protests against the government. In Nashik, party workers led by Congress city unit president Sharad Aher, district president Rajaram Pangavhane held an agitation at the Dwaraka Point this morning.

A similar protest was also held near Pimpalgaon Baswant in the district on Mumbai-Agra national highway. In Nagpur, Congress workers gathered at Variety Square under the leadership of former minister Nitin Raut and Congress city chief Vikas Thakre.

"The BJP-led central and state governments have cheated the people. They gave various promises before the elections. But, now they are not interested in fulfilling them. Both the governments are only supporting the industrialists. They have nothing to do with the common people. Therefore we have hit the streets to seek justice," Thakre said on the occasion.

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