While NCP chief Sharad Pawar put up a brave face before media persons saying his party is seeking an alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly polls, he told party leaders to look for candidates for all 288 seats at a closed-door meet. Addressing a press conference, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar put up a brave face saying that the NCP is seeking alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming elections. The NCP and Congress are at logger heads over seats distribution and some analysts are already saying that the parties will go for the elections alone. However while the NCP Chief maintained a neutral stance in front of the media, sources revealed that in a closed door meetings Sharad Pawar told party leaders to look for candidates for all 288 seats. To emphasize his point, Sharad Pawar referred to certain developments before the Congress announced that it would not align with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. He said that just ahead of the recent Lok Sabha polls, senior Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi had gone on the warpath against the Samajwadi Party. The Congress broke its alliance with the SP at the last moment. As a result, Mulayam Singh had great difficulty finding candidates for all the 80 seats. Now, Chaturvedi has levelled serious allegations against the Union Mgriculture Ministry held by Pawar. Sharad Pawar stated that his gut feeling is that the Congress is applying a strategy similar to what it used in Uttar Pradesh. During talks with the Congress, the NCP has demanded 122 Assembly seats. At the closed door meeting, Sharad Pawar told his colleagues to identify standby candidates for the remaining 166 constituencies. He said that the NCP should not be caught unawares, like the Samajwadi Party. Also, he asked Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and state NCP Chief R R Patil to open a line of communication with smaller parties, such as Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharatiya Republican Bahujan Mahasangh and the T M Kamble faction of the Republican Party of India. On the other hand, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has gone on record to say that he is ready to go it alone in assembly elections. The Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has demanded a new seat-sharing formula with ally NCP in the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. He has said that there is no question of repeating the old formula, especially after delimitation. The complexion of all constituencies has changed. He said the Congress should get a lion’s share of assembly seats as the party was in a better position than a few years ago. As part of seat-sharing in the last assembly polls, Congress was given 166 seats and NCP 122 of the total 288 seats in the state House. With Dheeraj Mishra, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.
August 12, 2017