NCP to go solo in Gujarat assembly polls, target Saurashtra
The NCP will be contesting all 58 seats in Saurashtra region, its state chief Jayant Patel told HT.india Updated: Sep 11, 2017 14:45 IST
After ditching ally Congress in last month’s Rajya Sabha elections by voting for BJP candidates, the NCP has now decided to go solo in the Gujarat assembly polls to be held in a couple of months’ time.
“The NCP will be contesting all 58 seats in Saurashtra region. The plans for other three regions would be announced soon,” NCP state president and MLA Jayant Patel told HT on Monday.
“We will raise issues of farmers and unemployment,” he said.
Saurashtra has a significant Patidar population. Along with North Gujarat, it is Saurashtra that Congress is counting on in the backdrop of Patidars’ OBC quota agitation.
But in the absence of an alliance between Congress and NCP, Patidars’ votes are likely to split and eventually benefit the BJP.
Fielding candidates from all 182 seats will be a daunting task for the Sharad Pawar-led party, given that the last elections in 2012 had only nine NCP candidates in the fray.
An alliance with the JD(U) announced earlier does not stand any more after Nitish Kumar’s party joined hands with the BJP in Bihar to form a new government in July.
While the NCP is keeping the option open for an alliance with the Congress, it is so far not happy with what it called its failure on put up a strong opposition.
“Congress’s 14 MLAs deserted the party in the crucial RS elections. Besides, the Congress is marred with infighting. We have kept the option of alliance open. But it is yet to be seen how Congress handles its issues,” Patel said.
The NCP will again put up its Kutiyana MLA, Kandhal Jadeja, who voted for the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections.
Jayant Patel has claimed that he voted for Congress’s Ahmed Patel, but BJP insiders maintained that both NCP MLAs, as per their high command diktat, voted for the BJP.
As per reports, it was JD(U) MLA Chhotu Vasava’s vote that proved critical in Ahmed Patel’s victory.