Adding fuel to the already heated political atmosphere, Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party, a key alliance partner of Congress, took a swipe on Wednesday at the Gandhi family for what it called as their "fake confidence" to regain power on their own in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
"The Congress is on cloud nine after a little success of the United Progressive Alliance government. It was achieved not on its own but with the help of its alliance partners. As a result, they are trying to create a leadership like Indira Gandhi with all the powers centred around one person," said an editorial in Marathi 'Congresscha Nakli Atmavishwas aani Agami Nivadnuka' (The fake confidence of Congress and the forthcoming elections) in NCP's mouthpiece Rashtrawadi.
The scathing attack by Congress' alliance partner targeting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi was an apparent sequel
to UPA's lead party' stand on the seat-sharing formula for the coming Lok Sabha elections. Late in the night, Pawar went on an apparent damage control mode saying the NCP diassociated from the views expressed in its mouthpiece and that it was the writer's own views.
Pawar's close lieutenant Praful Patel rejected the comments made against the Congress and said Rashtravadi magazine does nto speak for the party. The article while being critical of the Congress president and her All India Congress Committee general secretary son said, "Congress is playing to the tune of Sonia and Rahul."
"The Congress is nowhere in Maharashtra without the NCP," the article claimed terming the Gandhi scion Rahul as "arrogant." Congress characterises upper castes, it added.
Reacting sharply to the editorial, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said,"it is unfortunate in terms of the
content and the tone and tenor of the language."
An NCP spokesperson Prakash Binsale told PTI "The editor has been given freedom and the magazine is independently run by him. We don't interfere in it."
The author, Sudhir Bhongale, who took over as editor last year, told PTI over phone from Nagpur that the write-up
was his personal opinion.
The article comes at a time when Maharashtra politics has been rocked by reports of NCP and Shiv Sena teaming up for the ensuing elections.
"The Congress does not feel the necessity to think whether it would have been possible for it to clinch power without the existence of the NCP in Maharashtra," it said. "Without much strong position to clinch majority at the Lok Sabha level in the Hindi belt, the Congress is of the opinion that parties like Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal are nothing and the Congress is the only 'Rising National Star' on the political horizon. The Congress imagines that by proclaiming the names of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi it will automatically gain all the votes in these areas," it added.
The NCP editorial further said "the Congress has undertaken a programme to nullify the powers of its allied parties." It also praises the work done by Pawar as Agriculture Minister but the "Congress forgets this intentionally and adopts the policy of taking the credit, success of others' work."
The Congress, the article said, also harps the tune that it tries to compromise about seat-sharing in elections,
whereas others do not do so. The party considers the wish of Lalu Prasad or Sharad Pawar for Prime Ministership as 'greed for power' whereas its wish for Rahul Gandhi's Prime Ministership as a "welcome, selfless and good for the nation's welfare thing."
Criticising the Congress' decision to not to make poll alliance with any party at the national level, including the NCP, the editorial warns that the Congress has to give equal share in power to all, otherwise it will damage the nation's welfare, democracy and itself.