The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Ajit Pawar on Monday released his party`s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, highlighting that it will support the demand for a caste-based census, an issue its ally BJP has been side-stepping, reported the PTI.

Addressing a gathering in Mumbai, the Maharashtra deputy chief minister said that the NCP will also demand the Bharat Ratna, the country`s highest civilian award, for the late former Maharashtra chief minister and defence minister Yashvantrao Chavan, as per the PTI.

“Our party believes in the right to live as a human irrespective of caste, creed and religion. It believes in equality and unity. The NCP has faith in social reformer Sane Guruji`s quote, `The true religion is to offer love to the world.` We must bring the deprived and backward sections of society into the mainstream. We will demand for a caste-based census,” the manifesto stated, according to the PTI.

Ajit Pawar said that once the party is voted to power, it will demand a caste-based census.

The NCP`s former ally, Congress, has been demanding a nationwide caste-based census, while the BJP has been finding ways to counter it.

The NCP is a constituent of the Mahayuti alliance comprising the Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The other demands of the party include getting semi-English status to Urdu medium schools in the state and a minimum support price for farm produce, he said, the news agency reported on Monday.

The NCP chief also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s contribution to the country in the last ten years and his leadership.

PM Modi`s leadership will ensure our victory in the elections. There is no one from the opposition who can compete with him. He is the face of NDA,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar on Friday asked voters of Osmanabad Lok Sabha constituency to vote for a candidate who strengthens the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it would lead to development, reported news agency PTI.

Addressing a rally for the Nationalist Congress Party candidate Archana Patil, Pawar said, “PM Modi has started many welfare schemes. Please must choose the candidate who is backing our PM.”

Citing development projects for the region, Pawar said water supply for Dharashiv (Osmanabad) from Ujani dam was not enough and there was need to get water from Krishna-Bhima stabilisation project through a tunnel, reported PTI.

(with PTI inputs)

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