An ambitious NCP has decided that the time might be ripe for it to contest the 2014 elections on its own and is keen to emerge as the single largest party in the state.
Leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) including deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and Union minister Praful Patel indicated to this effect at an NCP function on Friday.
Party members also spoke of elevating position of their hopes to push party chief Sharad Pawar towards the top job in the capital by strengthening the party's position in the state. They also hinted at political upheaval in the Centre in the months to come.
"We must start thinking about moving from sharing 50 % power to 100% power in the state. There are only a few leaders in the country who have national clout; Mr Pawar is one of them. We need to maximise on this,'' said Patel.
Patel pointed out that it was unfortunate that single state party leaders like Mamta Banerjee and Jayalalitha were always in the national limelight, but the NCP, despite Pawar's stature, had not yet wrested the complete control in the state.
"Ideologically, we are with the Congress and can continue to be so. But, there is nothing wrong with thinking about the growth of our party," he added.
Newly-inducted party member Tariq Anwar, referring to senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi's recent statement that if Pawar's joins the NDA, he could be considered as a candidate for prime minister, said, "It's one thing when friends and followers say this, but when an enemy makes such a statement, there can be no denying this truth."
Ajit Pawar, in his address, told party workers that in 2014, their job was to ensure that NCP emerged as the single largest party in the state. In the 2009 elections, NCP fought in an alliance with the Congress, winning 62 of 114 seats.