The Congress-NCP sparring in Maharashtra intensified on Monday, with the former demanding that senior NCP leaders be punished by their party for not working in favour of their ally.
The Congress too is willing to take disciplinary action against its own leaders, said state party chief Manikrao Thakare, if they were found to have hurt NCP nominees’ prospects.
Trouble started after Congress workers, at a recent review meeting, complained that the NCP did not act as an ally during the elections and even supported their opponents in some constituencies.
The NCP, in turn, had pointed out that Congress workers too were at fault in Ahmednagar and Bhandara, where they supported rebels instead of official NCP candidates.
The the two parties have a seat-sharing arrangement in the state — Congress 26 seats and NCP 22.
On Monday, Thakare held a meeting of party office bearers and district unit presidents. “We received complaints from several district units that some senior NCP leaders did not campaign or took active part any poll activity of the Congress candidates,” he said. “This is more shocking for us because we (the Congress-NCP) fought the elections together, and the NCP boss Sharad Pawar and state NCP president R R Patil had directed all their senior leaders and workers to join hands with the ally.”
A Congressman said, requesting anonymity, that the party received complaints against NCP leaders from Mumbai North Central, Pune, Nandurbar, Sangli and Shirdi. “Apart from these prominent constituencies, our local leaders felt that the NCP workers in other segments fought by the Congress were reluctant in extending support.”
Thakare said the blame game should stop and he would personally meet (R.R.) Patil later this week to discuss the issue. “The Congress is willing to discipline its leaders who will be found guilty of breaching agreement between the two parties,” he said.
Thakare’s peacemaking formula is seen as a soother in view of a possibility of the allegations and counter allegations straining the NCP-Congress relations further ahead of the assembly elections scheduled for September-October.
Senior NCP leaders were not available for comment. But Patil on Sunday had said that it was routine for the Congress to complain against us after every election.
“The Congressmen always take our help but then its unfortunate for us that our sincere efforts are recognised in such a manner.”