Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has once again decided not to share the dais with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at joint rallies in the state.
In April this year, Pawar had skipped the campaign rally for the Lok Sabha election at the BKC Grounds in Mumbai, after Rahul replaced his mother Sonia Gandhi in a last-minute development. Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said on Thursday: "Sharad Pawar will not attend such rallies, but youth leaders from the NCP will be with Rahul Gandhi at joint rallies."
Malik said though the NCP had planned the rallies at divisional and district levels, starting next week, leaders from both parties would participate in public meetings once the decision of the alliance was taken.
It is no secret that Pawar does not share good relations with Rahul and he had openly opposed the latter's candidature for the post of prime minister.
The fresh statement by the NCP may lead to a new row between the parties.
The party has also ridiculed Congress leader Patangrao Kadam for his suggestion that the NCP merge with the Congress.
Home minister and senior NCP leader RR Patil said Kadam's statement should not be taken seriously as the Congress' political position in the state and at the national level was weaker than theirs.
"For the sake of making a statement, even we can demand that the Congress merge with the NCP as it has weakened significantly after the Lok Sabha election not just at the state level but at the national level too," he said.
NCP has clarified that the party's act of joining hands with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in Nashik for the mayor election was a political adjustment and would not damage its alliance with the Congress.