Cong plays ‘mind games’ with NCP | india | Hindustan Times
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Cong plays ‘mind games’ with NCP

Before polls, the Congress is playing big brother to its alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).The party has asked NCP to merge with its ‘parent’ party.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2009 01:10 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Before polls, the Congress is playing big brother to its alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).The party has asked NCP to merge with its ‘parent’ party.

All India Congress Committee observer, Digvijay Singh, initiated the idea while touring western Maharashtra — NCP’s stronghold where it did not perform as expected in the Lok Sabha polls.

In New Delhi on Monday, senior Congress leaders discussed the possibility of a coalition with the NCP during the ensuing Assembly polls but kept the partner anticipating their next move. A senior leader told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that the high command identified regions where it could win more seats than the NCP. “Our aim is to play mental war with NCP. Talking merger is a part of our strategy,” said the leader.

Ruling out a merger, State NCP President R.R. Patil said: “We have worked hard to grow our party which is a force to reckon with.”

Last week, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakare told HT that the Congress would want more seats if it were to forge an alliance with the NCP to contest 288 Assembly seats. “Delimitation has changed the political scene. Also, we won more Lok Sabha seats than the NCP. Naturally, we would want more,” the leader said.

In Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi conferred with senior party leaders on the party’s preparations for the polls. But there was no word on how the party plans to deal with its ally.

Gandhi will have another meeting, probably next week, to finalise the poll strategy.

(Inputs by Saroj Nagi)