Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's demand for more seats for the NCP (144 from the present 117) has created a rift between him and his uncle Sharad Pawar who is happy with the old arrangement and does not want to do any muscle-flexing that might break the 15-year-old alliance with the Congress.
Ajit Pawar has said the NCP will go it alone in the October assembly polls if the 144 seats are not granted. He even suggested that all political parties should fight alone rather than making alliances.
Ajit Pawar wants to be the CM and for that he needs the numbers. "Pawar Jr is making no secret of his ambition. If the NCP contests fewer seats than the Congress, the NCP's chances of getting the CM's post are limited," a source close to Ajit Pawar said.
The party that gets the more seats gets the CM's post, according to the existing arrangement.
"There are differences of opinion over seat sharing that can be ironed out at the appropriate forum," Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson, said.
Sharad Pawar knows the NCP cannot take on the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance on its own. "Pawarsaheb is ready to compromise. He does not want to be seen as adamant. Undermining his nephew's claim, Pawar even clarified that he is the final authority in the NCP to take a call on seat sharing," an NCP leader said.