On 25th May 1999, three leaders of the Indian National Congress, who were expelled from the party for strongly disputing the right of Italian-born Sonia Gandhi to become the leader of the INC, joined hands to form a new party under the name of Nationalist Congress Party or NCP. The three leaders were Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangma and Tariq Anwar. They, along with thousands of their supporters assembled at No. 6, Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road, New Delhi to form the new party and this marked the Red Letter Day of the country. NCP is a centre-left political party, upholding the traditions of adherent Congress leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru, Annie Besant, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and others. Sharad Pawar was made the President of the NCP and P.A Sangma and Tariq Anwar were made the General Secretaries of the Party. The Election Commission of India has recognized the NCP as a National Party. In the history of the country, this was the only party to have attained the status in such a short span of time.
The NCP stands for upholding the democratic secular society along with equality, social justice and unity in the nation. It believes that the integrity of India can be achieved by strengthening federalism and decentralizing power up to the village level. It believed in empowering the weaker sections of the society, especially the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the OBCs. NCP is a strong proponent of the universal disarmament policies, which alone can bring in peace in the country. NCP believes that economic growth in the country can be achieved only through competition, self-reliance, individual initiatives which cater to the demands of social justice and non-discrimination. It believes in eradicating unemployment, starvation, communalism, exploitation from the society.
NCP adheres to the concept of a stable government which should be free of corruption at all costs. This can only be attained through upholding the Rule of Law of the country, without any biases in religion, caste, creed, gender and other social indicators. Similarly, it does not accept the authoritarian and dynastic style of functioning of any party, like the INC, against which the NCP protested fiercely. It believes in an institutionalized and democratic functioning of the party. The members of the NCP believe that no person of foreign origin can occupy the highest seats of power and responsibility in the country, namely the President of India, Prime Minister of India, Chief Justice, Chief of Army and others. Though primarily based in the state of Maharashtra, the NCP has gradually gained prominence in states such as Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. It is even present in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Election Symbol and its Significance
The Election Symbol of NCP is an analogue clock that reads 10:10. The clock is drawn in blue and has two legs and an alarm button. It is situated on a tri-coloured Indian flag. This symbol used by the NCP is prominent and denotes that the NCP will keep fighting for its principles throughout, no matter how difficult the situation. The Nationalist Congress Party represents the thoughts and concerns of the common man. It symbolizes the ideals of speaking on behalf of the ordinary citizens of India. In this, the NCP must carry on its good work among the masses and for them, throughout the year, as the symbol signifies. This way, it will uphold the true traditions of India’s greatest leaders who gave India its independence.
Leaders of NCP
The leaders of the NCP, who are also their national representatives and executives, are the following:
Sharad Pawar, President of the Nationalist Congress Party – As a Member of the Parliament, Pawar leads the NCP delegation in the Lok Sabha. He previously served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He is presently the Minister of Agriculture of India and Minister of Food Processing. He is a modern social thinker and is known internationally for his role as the President of the International Cricket Council in the early decade of the 21st Century.
Tariq Anwar, General Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party – Anwar is a Member of the Parliament, and the present Minister of State for Agriculture. He is also the Founder President of ‘Jan Astha’ and ‘All India Quami Tanzeem’, registered social organizations working for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society.
Praful Patel, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises’As a member of the NCP, Patel represents the Bhandara-Gondia Parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha. He is also the President of the All India Football Federation and an Executive Member of the Asian Football Federation. Besides his role as a politician, Patel is the owner of CeeJay Group, the largest bidi-making company in western India.
Achievements of NCP
As a national political party, the CPI has made a number of significant contributions to the political scenario of the country. Some of these are listed below:
The NCP has a number of principal frontal organizations such as the student wing of the NCP called Nationalist Youth Congress, agricultural workers’ organization called the Nationalist Kisan Sabha, others organizations such as Rashtrawadi Yuvati Congress, Nationalist Student Congress etc. NCP has made a prominent contribution to the cause of women in the country through its very active organization Nationalist Mahila Congress.
As Minister of Agriculture, Sharad Pawar received the ‘Krishi Ratna’ Award for some of the very significant policies of agriculture in the country, which reduced the number of farmer suicides in India. He increased the allocation for farming in the budget, from 2% to 4.5% per year. He introduced a number of schemes to increase productivity, as such National Project on Management of Soil, Health and Fertility, Jute Technology Mission, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna and rural development in general.
P.A. Sangma, as the Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1996 to 1998 played a major role in the political development of the country. He maintained decorum in the Lok Sabha and was a strict Speaker. He is associated with a number of organizations like the Red Cross Society and Youth Hostels Association of India. He has also set up night schools for the underprivileged children.
In the Civil Aviation industry, Patel made significant changes. He introduced a number of new world-class airports in the country, initiating unprecedented growth in this sector. Domestic flight connectivity has been enhanced and international Air India flights have been made more frequent.
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