New Delhi: Senior NCP leader Praful Patel reportedly criticised the Congress and blamed it for the downfall of the two parties while addressing a public rally at Akola on Sunday. Singling out Prithviraj Chavan for the attack, Patel told a meeting of party workers here that Congress and the former chief minister were instrumental in a conspiracy to malign the NCP as they felt that BJP-Shiv Sena combine was a "lesser enemy" and "what was needed was to down us".
"They themselves sank, but also took us along," the former Union minister said. "Scams were not really scams but a conspiracy by Congress itself and leaders like Prithviraj Chavan to defame us," he said.
He preceded his remarks by saying if the NCP has suffered from anything over the last five years then it is because of "our friends in the Congress". He told partymen that the NCP knows how to swim and "we will bounce back with the same force that took us down. We are second to none."
Noting that there is a notion that the minorities and Dalits are with the Congress and that it is the old brand of the party which clicks, Patel told partymen, in reality the Congress has lost influence in the state as well as at the national level.
"It is now evident to you all," Patel said. The Congress and the NCP alliance ruled the state for 15 years.
They parted ways before the 2014 state Assembly polls, which resulted in the Congress securing just 41 seats and NCP bagging a seat less in the 288-member House, their lowest tallies ever.