Don’t take Congress for granted, CM tells Pawar | india | Hindustan Times
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Don’t take Congress for granted, CM tells Pawar

As the high-stakes battle for the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra enters the final phase, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has a message for his party’s alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party: Don’t take us for granted. We have the option of going it alone in the Assembly polls. Shailesh Gaikwad reports.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2009 01:18 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad

As the high-stakes battle for the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra enters the final phase, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has a message for his party’s alliance partner, the Nationalist Congress Party: Don’t take us for granted. We have the option of going it alone in the Assembly polls.

“The future of our alliance [with the NCP] depends on the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. It is important to see how the alliance partners are working together,” Chavan said in an interview to Hindustan Times on Sunday.

The remarks come against a background of suspicion between the Congress and NCP: At least half a dozen rebels from both parties are contesting as independents or on the ticket of other parties, threatening the prospects of the official candidates.

Besides, the NCP’s allies like the Samajwadi Party and the Jan Surajya Shakti have put up candidates against Congress nominees.

Then there is the Congress’ unease with the talk of Pawar’s prime ministerial ambitions, fuelled by his hob-nobbing with the Third Front.

Chavan said he expected the NCP to be honest, “just the way the Congress is in its alliance”.

“After the [Lok Sabha] election results are out, the state Congress committee will decide what to do next.” If things went wrong and the Congress’ prospects were affected by the squabbling within the alliance, his party would be open to the idea of contesting the Assembly elections, scheduled for September-October, on its own, Chavan said.

Chavan, who replaced Vilasrao Deshmukh as chief minister after the 26/11 attack, had earlier rejected his predecessor’s demand that the Congress go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections.