The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) may go solo in the state assembly elections scheduled to be held in October. This emerged at a meeting between NCP president Sharad Pawar and senior party leaders and ministers on Sunday at deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's official residence 'Devgiri'.
"In 2009 state poll, we had contested 114 assembly seats and 174 by the Congress. During that poll our strength was down so the Congress gave us less number of seats. Now, we have more MPs in comparison to the Congress so we should be given more assembly seats this time," Nawab Malik, the NCP spokesperson told dna on Monday.
Even though the NCP has only two more MPs than the Congress, it is using the statistics to claim parity with its ally. While the NCP has four MPs, the Congress has two.
Malik, who is a former minister, said leaders of the two parties should sit together to work out a seat-sharing formula on the basis of the ground reality. "If the Congress does not agree to our demand, we will have no option but contest on our own strength. In such a situation we will not have an alliance with the Congress for the assembly polls," a senior NCP minister, who attended Sunday's closed-door meeting, told dna requesting anonymity.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who belongs to the Congress, said before any big election each ally tries to increase its quota of seats. "But, we are confident of sorting out the differences. The two parties will jointly enter the poll arena," he added.
A Congress MLA said: "The NCP is in power with us for the past 15 years. It has to equally face the anti-incumbency factor. So, contesting solo will not be a politically wise decision. The need is for secular parties to remain together and defeat communal outfits."