New Delhi, Sept 16: Buoyed by the victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress plans to retain its hold on Mumbai in next month’s state Assembly elections by drawing support on the theme "Rashtra ke baad Maharashtra".
Though it is not an election slogan of the Congress, it plans to play the Maharashtra card to puncture the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s main electoral plank in the coming electoral battle.
"‘Rashtra ke baad Maharashtra’ has been our line and we will speak about it once again," party insiders said.
Asked what will be the Congress’ slogan in this election, they said the AICC’s publicity committee is expected to come out with a catchy slogan in the coming days "but our commitment to the welfare of aam aadmi continues to be undiluted", they said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had won the electoral battle against the Congress by playing the card of Gujarati asmita while the Telugu Desam Party was born on the issue of Telugu pride.
In Tamil Nadu, the national parties have been failing to defeat Dravidian parties mainly because of the latter’s commitment to Dravidian cause.
As for Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena was born on the issue of Marathi and now MNS led by Raj Thackeray is playing the same card to weaken the Shiv Sena and thereby open its account in the state Assembly.
The Congress is likely to build the election campaign on a theme of Maharashtra’s contribution to nation-building, its progressive approach and commitment to secularism.
The Congress has virtually checked the Shiv Sena-BJP combine in Mumbai successively twice in the Lok Sabha elections held in 2004 and May 2009 despite it being the stronghold of the saffron combine.
Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane will have maximum number of legislators after the delimitation of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
The BJP is expected to play the Hindutva card, the Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) consisting of RPI groups, PWP and Left parties will try to make a dent in the Dalit and urban support base of the Congress-NCP combine ruling the state for last 10 years.
The Samajwadi Party, eyeing the North Indians and minorities, is contemplating contesting about 40 seats while the Janata Dal (Secular) is optimistic to gain by winning South Indians living in Mumbai, Dombivali and Solapur.