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NCP, Congress likely to make handling of flood situation a major poll pitch


Satara, Aug 10: With Maharashtra Assembly elections round the corner, the NCP-Congress is likely to build a narrative around alleged 'inept handling' of flood situation by the Devendra Fadnavis led government.

Congress and NCP on Thursday criticised CM Devendra Fadnavis for ineptly handling the flood situation in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts. NCP also announced that elected representatives of the party will donate their month's salary for flood relief, adding that Karnataka CM was also responsible for the situation in Sangli.

Sharad Pawar

With BJP-Shiv Sena alliance sweeping the Lok Sabha elections in Maharasthra, NCP-Congress alliance badly needs a narrative to counter the saffron juggernaut. NCp leaders are campaigning across the state to garner support. Even veteran leader Sharad Pawar, who otherwise stays out of rallies and functions because of age, has hit the campaign trail.

With floods wreaking havoc in western Maharashtra and the assembly elections round the corner, Pawar on Saturday called for unity among the "Marathi manoos" to overcome the devastating crisis. Pawar also said states of Gujarat, Bihar and Assam could reciprocate the help extended to them by Maharashtra when they had been hit by nature's fury in the past.

Interacting with locals from Tambave village in Karad taluka in western Maharashtra, once the stronghold of the Congress and the NCP, Pawar said all-round efforts are needed to restore normalcy given the magnitude of the flood crisis. The former Union minister assured efforts on his part to secure maximum assistance from the Central and state governments for flood relief works.

"You stay united...We will overcome the situation collectively and show it to the world the Marathi manoos defeats any crisis with unity," Pawar told the gathering.

He said all NCP MPs and MLAs have decided to contribute their one-month salary towards the Chief Minister relief fund, and a cheque of Rs 50 lakh will be handed over to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The NCP chief claimed that an amount of Rs 1 crore was raised towards flood relief within half-an-hour in his hometown Baramati in Pune district on Friday.

[Maharashtra: Ratnagiri Dam breach death toll rises to 19]

The Opposition Congress and NCP have been trying to build a momentum against the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena by claiming inept handling of flood situation ahead of the Assembly polls, due in September-October. Pawar on Thursday demanded a complete loan waiver for farmers in Sangli and Kolhapur districts.

According to officials, 3,78,137 people have been rescued from worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts since the floods swamped western Maharashtra. Apart from Sangli and Kolhapur, districts of Satara, Pune and Solapur also remained under water since August 4.

The government has put the death toll in the five districts at 29 till Friday. An official said on Saturday the current discharge at 5,00,000 cusec (cubic foot per second) from Almatti dam on the Krishna river in neighbouring Karnataka is expected to ease the flood situation in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.

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