April 03, 2020
Home  »  Magazine  »  National  » Cover Stories  » Cover Story »  NCP's Foot Soldiers In Thane

NCP's Foot Soldiers In Thane

Prabhakar Sawant and Raj Rajapurkar are the grassroots worker of the NCP.

NCP's Foot Soldiers In Thane
Photograph by Apoorva Salkade
NCP's Foot Soldiers In Thane

The tea bubbles in the saucepan at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) office in Thane. And people stream in and out almost non-stop. Most of the visitors are for Anand Paranjpe, the NCP candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, and party leader Jitendra Awhad. From a corner, Prabhakar Sawant and Raj Rajapurkar watch the crowd. Nothing­ ­escapes their eyes—for they are the ­intermediaries between the electorate and the party. They are the grassroots worker; the indefatigable foot soldier who knows each booth, volunteer, and their day-today activities.

Sawant, who heads the NCP’s Thane unit, was with the BJP for almost three decades before he became an NCP member in 2008. “I have seen all the prime ministers in my life. I was active post-Emergency, but this is the only prime minister who is a dictator. We are reaching out to as many people as we can to make sure the BJP is defeated,” he says and stresses that people are unhappy with the NDA government because of demonetisation, poor implementation of the GST, and unemployment.

Sawant has a personal axe to grind against the 2016 scrapping of 1,000- and 500-rupee notes. “My son had three ice cream shops and was doing well. But after DEMo, the business went down for two-three months and did not pick up even by half. He has closed all the shops. This is the story of almost all traders across sections. They never came out of the red. People will not forget such decisions that brought them down.”

For his part, Rajapurkar, in charge of the party’s OBC cell, is in touch with hundreds of people and uses every technology at hand. An articulate and persuasive party worker, he wants to use “old and new” methods to reach out to as many voters as possible. They are now going hyper-local with WhatsApp groups of housing societies and telling them about election issues. “People in Thane want a kind MP, not a corporator-type. They want someone accessible and educated. Thane no longer has a Marathi-only population. The constituency covers migrants from north and south as well. They want someone who will connect with MPs from their home states. I know this because I talk to people. I have been recording videos and posting them on my Facebook page.”

The Shiv Sena-BJP office, hardly 10 minutes away, presents a contrasting sight. There are visitors and crowds all right, but the attitude is markedly different—guarded, quiet and unenthusiastic. “Elections are still some time away. We are yet to hit the ground,” says Mr Tilak, refusing to give his full name and details. Another office-bearer chips in, “What is there to say. Everyone will do their job once the date is closer. We are making a document of all the work that has been done.” It was not available at the office for perusal. Rajan Vichare, the MP, wasn’t unavailable for comments.

The Foot Soldiers: Meet The Party Workers Who Carry Their Leader's Message To Voters

Slogans, Posters, Poems: How This BJP Worker And His Team Is Campaigning For Smriti Irani In Amethi

Meet T. Kamalakshamma, Congress' Foot Soldier, Who Is Working With The Party Since 1983

She Fought Rumours And Dealt With Challenges. Now, Puja Badola Campaigns For AAP

R. Ravikrishnan And T. Nandakumar: Foot Soldiers Of DMK and AIADMK Who Rose Through The Ranks

Foot Soldiers | Only Woman In The Team Of 5, Saba Khan Campaigns For SP In Aligarh

Foot Soldiers | Meet K.Y. Baby, An Autorickshaw Driver And CPI(M) Worker For 3 Decades

Panchayat Mukhiya And RJD's Grassroots Worker,Sushila Devi Hopes For 'Achhe Din'

An MA In Economics, Santosh Rao Is BSP's Foot Soldier In Aligarh

'Even A Buffalo Will Get Our Votes In Paswan’s Name': RJD Workers Are Confident Of Party's Win In Hajipur

Pramod Senapati aka Luna: BJD's Foot Soldier In Bhubaneswar

This NRI-Technocrat-TDP Worker Is Back 'Home' To Campaign For Chandrababu Naidu

Meet Ali Mohammad Kumar, A Foot Soldier Raising Slogans At NC Rallies For Decades

NCP's Foot Soldiers In Thane

Sonamoni Khatun: Trinamool Congress Foot Soldier In Basirhat

Next Story >>
Google + Linkedin Whatsapp

The Latest Issue

Outlook Videos