Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reportedly told party workers in Pune on Wednesday that if the Congress got a majority, it could do without the help of allies such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
However, despite pressure from the gathering to snap ties with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Gandhi asked them to understand the compulsions of coalition politics. He reportedly told them the Congress needs support from other parties to run the government at the Centre and is left with little option in states like Maharashtra.
“The only solution to this is to ensure a maximum number of seats in Lok Sabha. If we can get a majority, we would be able to strengthen the party in our own way,” he said.
Relations between the Congress and NCP have been strained for the past year and came to a head with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Pawar clashing over governance issues. The NCP’s decision to field 70 candidates for the assembly elections in Delhi is a fresh offensive.
Congress delegates and workers from NCP strongholds — western and north Maharashtra and the Konkan region — were peeved. At their meeting with Gandhi, in the presence of Chavan and state Congress chief Manikrao Thakare, they spoke of their grievances against the NCP.
Gandhi is also understood to have expressed satisfaction about Chavan’s performance at a separate meeting with the chief minister.