Both the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are unlikely to bury the hatchet for the upcoming civic elections, in which more than 80% voters are likely to exercise their franchise. This may prove to be a favourable battle environmentfor the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena.
By announcing the first list of 45 candidates for the BMC elections to be held in February, the NCP confirmed that it’s not going to join hands with the Congress. The Congress also clarified that it was not interested to go in alliance in Mumbai and the decisions for other districts had been left to the local units of the party. Barring a few districts, the parties are unlikely to come together for the civic polls. “We are no more in alliance, ours is just an ad hoc agreement. The local units have been given powers to forge the alliance if they wish,” Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress chief said.
Twenty six district councils (the district level rural civic bodies) and 10 municipal corporations, will go to polls in February, next year. Eight more corporations will have elections in May, June and October.
Leaders of both parties admit that the alliance would have helped perform better and put up a united show against the saffron forces, but a widened rift and bitterness that developed over the years, appears to be a hurdle for the alliance. “Congress believes that it gets damaged while in alliance with the NCP as the latter carries the baggage of corruption and ideological flip flops. The NCP has been reaping the benefits of the alliance and it has been proved in the recent municipal council election. Our loss in seats when compared with the earlier tally was much lesser,” said a Congress leader, who did not wish to be named.
The Congress-NCP snapped ties just days ahead of the 2014-Assembly elections. Since then the rift between them has been continuously widening over differences in all subsequent elections.
In the recent legislative council elections, the two parties ensured that each of their candidates were defeated. This they did by helping the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena. In the district council and corporation elections, the two parties may come together in just A handful of districts such as Parbhani, Jalgaon, Jalana, Soapur where both the parties have lost their base.
Observers also feel that the rift between the two may work in favour of the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Congress should think about who they are helping by denying the alliance. Wherever both the parties are weak we should think of an alliance. Of late, the Congress has adapted the policy of doing maximum damage to our candidates in civic polls.”