Mumbai (The Hindu): Demanding withdrawal of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s statement of extending unconditional support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after 2014 Assembly elections, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Monday said that unless that happens, allying with the NCP is as good as allying with the BJP.
“The NCP desperately wants to ally with the Congress for the elections to six State council seats. First of all, the NCP must withdraw its 2014 statement of unconditional support to the BJP. In such a condition, allying with the NCP means an alliance with the BJP. Do we want that?” said Mr. Chavan.
The former CM has been vocal against any alliance with the NCP and is in favour of a fight between the parties.
“If at all an alliance is formed, it should be on equal terms. The NCP cannot dictate terms. Wherever we have a chance to win a seat, it should be given to us.”
The six council seats, to be elected from civic bodies, are Bhandara-Gondia, Yavatmal, Jalgaon, Nanded, Pune, and Sangli-Satara. Till now, the seat-sharing between the parties is 5-1, with Nanded’s lone seat with the Congress. Now, a fraction within the Congress either wants a straight fight or equal number of seats.
On Monday, the NCP announced its candidates for Bhandara-Gondia, Pune and Sangli-Satara. The Congress has decided to contest the Sangli-Satara seat.
According to sources, unless an acceptable seat-sharing formula comes up, the Congress will ask its Pune district committee president Santosh Jagtap to contest Pune.
NCP’s State unit president Sunil Tatkare refused to respond to Mr. Chavan’s remarks, saying the party will find the best way possible. Discussions between party leaders were in progress at the time of going to press.
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