Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar ridiculed the demand by two Congress union ministers that their party should go it alone in the Maharashtra assembly elections in October.
“I am worried. I’m spending sleepless nights,” Pawar reacted sarcastically on Tuesday when quizzed about the demand by Congress leaders Vilasrao Deshmukh and Prithviraj Chauhan.
The Congress and the NCP have been allies in Mahrashtra for a decade now and after five years of cohabitation are once again part of the UPA at the Centre.
Chavan is known for his anti-Pawar line. On Monday, Deshmukh, Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, also questioned the need for an ally with the NCP in the state polls.
“The leadership should take the decision in a month’s time so that we can get down to work. Efforts are on to persuade the leadership about the need to go it alone in the assembly elections,” he had said in Mumbai, his demand coming in the
backdrop of the Congress’s decision to contest on its own in the Lok Sabha elections in UP and Bihar.
In a reflection of the division in the Congress on the issue, a well-placed party leader, seeking anonymity, earlier dismissed such demands as the personal views of the leaders concerned. “It is not the party view,” he said.
The “go it alone” call by a section in the state unit is based on the Congress-NCP competition for political primacy in the state where the Shiv Sena stands divided, the Sena-BJP relations aren’t smooth and each constituent of the alliance grouping does not trust the other.
Others see it as a prelude to hard bargaining for seats, with both the NCP and the Congress conscious that if they contest separately, the beneficiary may be the BJP-Sena, which reportedly has a combined vote share of 36 per cent.