Despite the current rumblings in the ruling alliance partners, the Congress and the NCP are sure to contest the ensuing state assembly elections collectively. Both parties have dropped enough hints that indicate continuation of the coalition. Soon after the results were out last week, a section of the leaders from the Congress and the NCP was heard demanding separation. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was the first Congressman to demand the divorce openly. Other senior leaders too followed suit, making a strong case for the Congress to snap ties with Sharad Pawar-led NCP. On the other hand, state NCP satraps like RR Patil responded the demand with same spirit saying that they were ready for the separation, if the Congress was ready. Sharad Pawar, however, seems to have settled the issue. He stated that the Congress-NCP will fight the coming state assembly elections jointly. Besides making it clear that its pact with the Congress is intact, Sharad Pawar, in fact, chided his own party men saying that many NCP leaders were over confident about the party’s strength which had led the party down in many constituencies. Veteran of many battles, however, made it clear that though the NCP won fewer seats, eight compared to Congress’ 17, it is close to Congress in total votes polled. The Congress has bagged 71, 87, 838 votes – which is 19.61% – as against the NCP’s 71, 31, 153 votes – 19.28%. Sharad Pawar’s argument was that it makes sense for both parties to stay together considering the narrow gap between the two. Bureau report – NMTV News.