Even as the issue of a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party remains undecided, Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar has decided to personally step in to prepare the NCP for the upcoming assembly elections. The NCP is in a bad shape following its failure to perform well during the recently-held Lok Sabha elections. Pawar, who had depended on his young brigade for the Lok Sabha elections, has now decided to take things upon himself for the assembly elections. He has started meeting NCP activists at the grassroots level and is short-listing candidates for the assembly polls scheduled for October 2009. Pawar is planning to visit divisional centres in the next two weeks and meet workers without the presence of ministers and NCP office-bearers. In the Congress, while Union heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil are against the pre-poll alliance, chief minister Ashok Chavan and MPCC president Manikrao Thakare are for it. The final decision will be made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is keeping everyone, including Pawar, guessing.
September 1, 2016
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