A day after chief minister Prithviraj Chavan indicated that he would be the face of the Congress poll campaign in the state, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar began mounting pressure on its ally over seat-sharing.
While he said the NCP would fight the assembly elections with the Congress, Pawar made it clear that his party would ask for more than 144 of the 288 seats when negotiations begin.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Mumbai on Saturday, Pawar also took a dig at the CM, stating that initial talks will be held with the Congress high command in Delhi and the seat-sharing negotiations will take place only after a formula is finalised by the leadership of both parties. He also rubbished reports of a Congress offer to merge his party ahead of the polls.
The former Union minister added that he wants the potential of a party to win a particular assembly seat considered before finalising the seat-sharing arrangement. And if this formula is used, Pawar said, the NCP will end up with about 144 seats.
Pawar also silenced the voices from within his party that had spoken of contesting the polls alone if the Congress did not allot them half the seats. Pawar said he was still the boss and the party would fight the elections with its long-standing ally Congress.
When asked about MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s statement about the Modi wave receding, Pawar said it was too early to pass a judgement on the NDA government at the Centre.
At the same time, he said the government had failed to meet expectations of the people in the first 45 days. "It may help us in the assembly elections. The elections will not be easy for the ruling parties, but nothing is impossible."