Congress will be No. 1 party in Maharashtra: Patole

State unit marks Rahul Gandhi’s birthday

The Maharashtra Congress on Saturday decided to observe June 19 as ‘Resolve Day’ to mark the birthday of former party president and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi.

State Congress chief Nana Patole said he would ensure that it would emerge as the No. 1 party in the State in the next Assembly election. He said, “When I became State Congress president and met Sonia Gandhiji, she told me that Maharashtra has always been Congress’s turf and it should remain so. I promised her that I would bring back those days and started working with that aim from Day 1. We resolve to make Congress the No. 1 party in the State.”

Mr. Patole was speaking at the inauguration of the refurbished Tilak Bhavan, the State party headquarters, in the presence of senior party leaders. Former Congress leader and BJP MLA Dr. Sunil Deshmukh rejoined the party on the occasion. The move is likely to boost the party’s electoral prospects, especially in Vidarbha.

Mumbai Congress president Bhai Jagtap gave the call to fight the polls independently. “Please allow us to fight the upcoming elections independently. It is our turn to show the strength of the party,” he said.

Several speakers, including three former chief ministers, pledged to strengthen the party and take it to the top. As part of the initiatives to mark Mr. Gandhi’s birthday, the party pledged to provide food, check-ups, and medicines to 1,000 malnourished children in Mumbai’s slums.

Last week, Mr. Patole said the party was ready to contest the polls on its own and he was willing to be the face of the party in the polls with the high command’s consent. Mr. Patole also said that the Central government was complicating the provision of reservations.

“The Centre cannot solve issues of improving earnings, that’s why it is diverting people’s attention by raking up issues concerned with caste and reservations,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court scrapping OBC reservation in local bodies was a result of the Centre not providing empirical data on OBCs to the court.

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