PUNE: On a day the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) launched its mass outreach campaign ahead of the upcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra from Pune district, senior leader Ajit Pawar has promised to bring a law reserving 75 per cent jobs for locals in the private sector in the event of the UPA forming the next government.
The party on afternoon launched 'Shiv Swarajya Yatra' from historic Shivneri fort, the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, days after the ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena flagged off similar campaigns to build a momentum among voters.
The yatra is being led by actor-turned-politician Amol Kolhe, the NCP MP from Shirur in Pune district.
"We will bring a law granting 75 per cent reservation in (private) jobs for locals, in the event of the Congress-NCP forming a government," Pawar said while addressing a gathering at Junnar.
Many senior leaders of the party were present on the occasion.
In his speech, the former deputy chief minister mocked the ruling Shiv Sena for organising protests against insurance firms for allegedly not settling the claims of the farmers.
Pawar said the NCP would devolve key responsibilities to the youth and women ahead of the elections, due in September-October this year.
Launching a frontal attack on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has taken out 'Mahajandesh Yatra', Pawar said the former has failed on all the fronts.
"At a time when the common people are facing hardships due to floods, the chief minister has embarked on a political campaign.
The BJP government has failed to safeguard the interests of farmers, minorities, women, and backward classes," he said.
He also targeted state Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan for breaking into a jig when the Centre scrapped the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under the Article 370.
"How could you dance when the state is facing difficulties (due to floods in many districts)?" asked Pawar.
He exuded confidence that the Congress and the NCP together will win 175 of total 288 seats in the polls.
Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal dared the government to hold the upcoming elections through ballot papers instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
NCP state unit president Jayant Patil termed recent desertions by some party leaders who have crossed over either the BJP or the Sena, as "good riddance".
"I am thankful to those who have left the party because as a party's state president, I can appoint young leaders," he said.
Before it culminates at the Raigad fort on August 28, the yatra will cover 22 districts and 80 talukas.
In the 2014 elections, the Congress and the NCP had won 42 and 41 seats, respectively. The NCP is currently grappling with a string of desertions.